Micro-injection (ICSI) in In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
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After spending their lifetimes, most couples decide they want to start a family and have a child, which can add to the beauty of their relationship. The process of conceiving is smooth and effortless for some couples. It can be done easily after unprotected sexual intercourse. In contrast, few couples face difficulties, and the process of conceiving and having a child is very stressful, tiring, and takes a longer time than usual.
The adverse environmental factors, including the habit of unhealthy eating, stressful life, unfavorable environmental conditions, and other medical aspects such as genetic transfer, make the conception process difficult or even impossible for few couples.
Luckily, technology is developing, and there are multiple procedures available that assist the reproductive system and help couples get pregnant. In the hub of these innovations, ICSI or microinjection is considered one of the most successful procedures in reproductive technology. It is the hope of thousands of couples who are childless and unable to start their family naturally.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an assisted reproductive technique used in the In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technology. In this technique, a sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of the egg with the help of a sterile injection.
First of all, read the following paragraph to get an idea of how human reproduction takes place.
Fertilization is a biological process in which an egg is fertilized with sperm. The egg is the reproductive cell of a female body, while the sperm is the reproductive cell of a male body. The whole process of fertilization takes place in the oviduct of women, which is a part of the female reproductive system. After that, the embryo, which is a product of the fertilization process, develops and grows in the female’s womb.
Usually, the process of fertilization depends upon the sperm. Because the egg is an immobile cell, it waits for the sperm to come into the oviduct, where the fertilization takes place. Sperm is the mobile structure, and its mobility is considered as one of the main factors in pregnancy.
The description is about how the natural process of conception occurs, or in other words, it is the base of pregnancy. In most couples, this process of sperm motility and fertilization of the egg with the sperm does not naturally take place. External support is required for the movement of sperm or its summon with the egg. One of the external support is done by the microinjection or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. This technique is performed in the laboratory. The outside environment is used to combine sperm with egg.
How is microinjection performed?
The intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) takes place in five simple steps:
- With the help of a specialized pipette, the mature egg is carried.
- A single sperm is immobilized and then picked up with the help of a hollow, sharp, yet very delicate needle.
- Then, very careful insertion of the needle is done into the cytoplasm of a female egg through the outer layer or shell of the egg.
- The careful injection of sperm is performed, and after that needle is removed.
- The egg is kept under observation for evidence of the normal process of fertilization.
The procedure of embryo transfer is used to implant the embryo into the uterus of women once all the above-mentioned steps of the microinjection process are completed, and successful fertilization has taken place. After that, the early symptoms of pregnancy are a matter to look at and observe. The fertility specialist may take a blood test or ultrasound to determine if pregnancy has happened.
Specific conditions in which ICSI is recommended:
The mobility of sperm is one of the main things to ponder upon when it comes to infertility due to a male partner. ICSI or microinjection is most commonly used in couples who are dealing with infertility problems because of male infertility factors.
Following are the main fertility factors that come concerning male partners are the Low sperm count, poor quality of sperm, poor movement or motility of sperm, Azoospermia, or the inability of sperm to penetrate the egg.
The treatment of microinjection has few similar steps as that of IVF. Although the method is similar to the classic IVF technique, the prefer-ability of using this method over IVF is different in different situations. The description of such conditions is as follows:
Low sperm count:
Oligospermia is the term used for low sperm count in males. It is determined by the spermiogram test, which shows the low sperm count if the results show less than 15 million sperm in a section of 1ml of semen. Low sperm count reduces the probability of getting pregnant. This is the condition in which a doctor may recommend the technique of microinjection.
Failure in the IVF attempts:
Keeping health concerns in mind, couples who are unable to conceive naturally go for the in-vitro fertilization technique. However, if the couple fails in the IVF attempt, doctors suggest taking a trial of intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
Microinjection is capable of giving the successful experience of fertilization in situations where IVF attempts have failed. ICSI is indeed a preferable choice for such couples.
Deformed Sperm Morphology:
Any kind of deformity or defect in the structure of sperm causes infertility by negatively affecting the process of fertilization. An abnormal sperm causes failure in IVF attempts because a healthy sperm is required for successful reproductive technologies.
In microinjection, the probability of getting pregnant is higher because this process of ICSI includes the selection of the healthiest sperm, which can then be injected into the female egg for the fertilization process to occur.
Low probability of IVF success:
IVF is done in couples who meet the criteria of this process. However, some couples are willing to go for the assisted pregnancy even if they have a poor quality of sperm or low reservation of eggs. In such situations, waiting for the sperm to fertilize with an egg on its own in the laboratory environment is not appreciated.
Therefore, microinjection is used in such conditions.
Motility of Sperm:
Motility or movement of sperm is one of the most important factors in the success of both the natural process of fertilization or IVF. Suppose the sperms are immobile and do not reach the egg for fertilization. In that case, microinjection is seemed to be the best choice in this regard for a successful pregnancy as the sperm is directly injected into the egg with the help of a sterile and sharp needle.
Any Health Concerns:
According to the research, it has been revealed that the babies who are the result of artificial insemination may have the chances of some birth defects. One of the main domains to be pondered about is the imprinting defects. These defects are the result of any abnormality in the gene functioning. These defects occur when there is some problem of matting between zygotes and gametes.
However, other research believes that the probability of congenital disabilities is equal in both natural process and artificial processes of fertilization, and thus assisted reproductive technologies are not of great concern regarding birth defects.
In addition to this, a small number of eggs are destroyed as a result of needle insertion. However, the amount is very small and about less than five percent. Other risks include sex chromosomes deformity or abnormality. These abnormalities cause an increase in miscarriages, increases the risk of infertility in those children during their fertile years, increases the risk of learning or behavior disabilities, and also heart problems in such infants.
The developmental delay has also been considered as one of the potential risks in the ICSI procedure. Although, there is no evidence-based research is present in this regard. Thus, it is advisable to discuss the complications, concerns, and potential risks that you may have if you go for ICSI.
The procedure of ICSI may be very demanding for women, especially in both emotional and physical aspects. These procedures include the shots, and some of these shots are quite painful and energy-draining. Thus, the doctor recommends avoiding any stressful activities for the rest of the day.
Every couple has a dream of becoming a father and mother and starts their family with a cute child. Microinjection is undoubtedly a great innovation in the field of medicine. It has been practiced all over the world for several years in achieving the goal of successful conception and to start a family healthily.
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