Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a laboratory procedure developed to help infertile couples undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) due to severe male factor infertility. ICSI involves the insertion of a single sperm directly into the cytoplasm of a mature egg (oocyte) using a special microinjection pipette (glass needle). After sperm injection into the egg, further culture and embryo transfer is as with the IVF cases. For patients with subfertile semen, this procedure is preferable to IVF. It was introduced in 1992 and was welcomed as a breakthrough in fertility treatment where the problem is on the man’s side.Since then ICSI has become the most successful technique in male infertility treatment.In ICSI only one sperm is needed, which is injected directly into the egg. ICSI is now used in nearly half of all the IVF treatments.
If you have a low sperm count, low sperm motility or ability to swim, a damaged or missing vas deferens which are the tubes that carry seminal fluid from the testes to the penis, or if you've had an irreversible vasectomy, ICSI can help you impregnate your partner.
How the treatment is done?
Since ICSI is always used with in vitro fertilisation, the process starts with preparation for this procedure. The woman is given fertility drugs to stimulate egg follicle development and ovulation. Her mature ova are then retrieved to use during ICSI.
In additional preparation for ICSI, sperm is collected from the man. In cases where it is possible, sperm can be collected from a semen sample. This is the preferred method since it is less invasive, but for some men this may not be possible. An alternate option is to harvest the sperm directly from the man's testicles using a testicular biopsy under anesthetic.
The single sperm is then injected directly into the woman's harvested egg with a very delicate needle. The egg will reseal itself after the needle is withdrawn, just as it does in the process of natural fertilisation when the sperm breaks through its outer membrane.As in in vitro fertilisation without ICSI, the fertilised egg is then allowed to develop for a few days before being transferred back into the woman's uterus in the form of an embryo. You can take a pregnancy test about two weeks after the embryos are placed in the uterus.
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