We are fully prepared to offer our patients ICSI IVF treatments here at our private clinic in London, UK, if it’s decided that this will be the most beneficial option for you, your partner, and your plan to expand your family.
If you are interested in learning more about ICSI and the procedure that it will involve, please read on below. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to speak with one of our consultants or coordinators as soon as possible, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to answer questions.
What is ICSI IVF?
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a micromanipulation technique used in a patient’s in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. During the process, a single sperm cell will be injected into an individual egg in the hopes of achieving fertilisation. Only one motile sperm cell is needed for each egg retrieved for the procedure, so it’s a very viable option for patients with low sperm counts.
By going through the process, patients who might otherwise have had poor chances of fathering a child (even through other reproductive technologies) may have the opportunity to fertilise an egg. From this treatment, an embryo may be produced that’s suitable for transferring back into a womb, and eventually their partner or a surrogate may carry out a pregnancy and give birth to a healthy child.
Who is This Procedure Recommended For?
Your doctor or a fertility specialist may recommend an ICSI IVF cycle if:
- You or your partner have a very low sperm count (considered to be fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen)
- You or your partner’s sperm have poor morphology (an unusual shape) or poor motility (they cannot move very well)
- You have trouble maintaining an erection or ejaculating
- You or your partner need your sperm to be collected surgically from the testicles or epididymis (a narrow tube inside the scrotum where the sperm are stored and matured)
- You or your partner have been found to have a high level of antibodies in your semen
- You’re planning on using frozen sperm which isn’t of the highest quality
- Sometimes if you’re having embryo testing carried out for a genetic condition
- You’ve undergone in vitro fertilisation treatments before and none (or very few) of the eggs fertilised during the process
It should also be noted that if you’ve had treatment in the past and poor quality or immature eggs meant that the sperm and egg had difficulties fertilising, then this treatment may not be the right option for you and your partner.
In addition to the ICSI procedure, your specialist may also talk to you about PICSI, or physiological intracytoplasmic sperm injection. This laboratory method is carried out in addition to ICSI, and is used to select mature sperm to use in the ICSI treatment process. It’s a non-invasive test and is carried out on the semen sample as an additional step in the fertility treatment.
We offer PICSI because research has suggested that proven mature and structurally sound sperm will bind to hyaluronan (a kind of “scaffold” secreted by the cells that then surrounds them inside a body).
Scientific studies into PICSI have not shown that it adds any risks to the ICSI procedure itself. However, we must also inform you that it hasn’t been proven to increase your chances of having a baby, though some studies have suggested that it does have a slight lowering effect on the chances of miscarriage. In our own clinic, the technique is used to help the embryology team select the sperm that will be used in the injection process.
PICSI is outlined as additional treatment option by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and have currently been deemed as red in the HFEA traffic light system for additional treatment options as there is no evidence from randomised controlled trials to show that they are effective at improving the chances of having a baby for most fertility patients.
Your fertility specialist may also suggest IMSI, or intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection, as an optional addition to the ICSI procedure when discussing laboratory methods. This is also used to select particular sperm for use in ICSI treatments, and is carried out using a high-power light microscope.
The magnification on this microscope is increased by about 6,000 times to allow the embryologist to see the detailed structure of each sperm cell. Sperm with a good morphology (a good shape, which is not considered abnormal) will then be selected for use in the procedure.
Scientific studies haven’t shown that this extra procedure adds risks to ICSI, and we must note that it hasn’t been proven to increase your chances of having a baby. However, it does help our embryology team to select the highest quality sperm available for the injection process, and some studies have shown increased rates of successful pregnancy and pregnancy outcome in the following instances:
- High sperm DNA fragmentation
- Poor embryo quality
- Repeated failed ICSI cycles
- Repetitive miscarriages post-ICSI
Our ICSI IVF Procedure in the UK
The procedure can be carried out using eggs collected through Stimulated Cycle IVF (also called Conventional IVF) or Natural Cycle IVF. The only difference between the two processes will be how the sperm is introduced to the egg.
Below, we’ve set out the steps in the procedure (based on a cycle of Conventional IVF) to give an example of how you may expect the process to work when you decide on ICSI:
- The procedure will always begin with the female partner or egg donor receiving a hormone injection to stimulate their ovaries, from which a large number of follicles will be recruited. This increases the chance of retrieving multiple eggs
- After approximately 9 to 14 days of stimulation, a final “trigger injection” of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) or gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) will be given. This will happen between 35 to 36 hours before egg collection takes place
- The egg retrieval will take place under mild sedation anaesthesia, with the eggs being collected by aspirating the follicles using a vaginal ultrasound probe
- Once the eggs and sperm have both been collected they will be introduced, meaning a specialist embryologist will directly inject the sperm cells into individual eggs
- After the sperm is injected, the eggs will be left overnight and assessed the next morning. The embryologist will use this time to check for any early signs of fertilisation, which will be seen when the cells begin to divide (first into two, then four, and so on)
- Three to five days after the embryo has been declared viable the embryo transfer will take place, meaning it will be transferred into the womb of the intended parent or a chosen surrogate
- Two weeks after the procedure has taken place, we will perform a blood test to see if it has been successful
If there are any unused, good quality embryos left over after your in vitro fertilisation and ICSI procedure, these can be cryopreserved (frozen) for future use.
ICSI IVF Treatment Success Rates
Like any fertility treatment, there will always be a chance that it doesn’t work the first time. However, ICSI success rates are favourable, with a good chance of the egg being fertilised. According to the NHS, 60-70% of the eggs that are injected will be fertilised as a result.
Once it has been carried out, success rates for ICSI are the same as Natural or Conventional IVF procedures, meaning that for women under the age of 35, there is a higher chance of success.
How Much Does ICSI IVF Cost?
The ICSI procedure by itself will cost £950, while the optional, additional PICSI and IMSI procedures will both cost £240 each. When you come to us for your initial mini consultation, each of your options will be discussed with you so that you can make the best decision for your health, your journey to parenthood, and your budget at the same time.
There is no need to worry if you decide that our clinic isn’t the right option for you, either. No matter what you decide, your 30-minute mini consultation will always be free. This gives us time to discuss possible treatment options with you and work out the price based on the procedures that will be best for your circumstances.
Our clinic will accept a number of payment methods, including debit and credit cards (American Express up to a limit of £750 per invoice), and bank transfers.
Speak With Us and Book a Consultation Today
If you believe that an ICSI IVF procedure could be the next, most successful step on your journey to parenthood, get in touch with us and we’ll help you arrange a free mini consultation with one of our specialists as soon as possible.
We’ll be glad to help you on the path to forming your ideal family, while offering the care and understanding you deserve at a time that may be difficult for you and your partner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Risks Involved With ICSI IVF Treatments?
The greatest risk involved with ICSI IVF is the possibility of the egg becoming damaged when it is cleaned and injected with the sperm cell, though it must be noted that 90% of the eggs collected and injected for the procedure are likely to survive.
It has also been suggested that children born from the treatment also have a chance of developing long-term health issues, or that male children may inherit their father’s or donor’s infertility, though there is no conclusive evidence available to suggest that either of these are the case. It is, however, possible that any health problems associated with ICSI have actually been caused by the underlying fertility issue, rather than the treatment itself.