Assisted Reproductive Techniques
How ICSI and IVF open the door to parenthood when other procedures fail
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is a procedure commonly used to treat infertility or genetic disorders and assist with the conception of a healthy child. The embryo formed upon the successful fertilization of the egg by the sperm is allowed to develop in the laboratory. It is later transferred into the patient’s uterus, where it will hopefully implant and develop further.
An IVF cycle comprises of five main steps:
1. Controlled Ovarian Hyper-stimulation (COH) and Follicular Monitoring
2. hCG Trigger and Oocyte Retrieval
3. Oocyte Culture, Insemination and Fertilization in the IVF Laboratory
4. Embryo Transfer
5. Luteal Support
This process is taken one step further with the help of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). It involves inserting a single sperm directly into the oocyte (cytoplasm of a mature egg) using a microinjection pipette made of glass.
I suggest undergoing IVF when alternative treatments either fail to result in a pregnancy or are unlikely to achieve the desired results. IVF is best suited for women with blocked fallopian tubes. Patients with extensive pelvic adhesions that prevent the egg from entering the fallopian tubes can also benefit from IVF treatment.
Furthermore, IVF can be especially helpful in case the male partner has low sperm counts. The procedure allows us to super concentrate sperm, thus resulting in potentially successful fertilization. Also, in cases of ‘unexplained’ infertility (where the patient is unable to conceive despite all tests being normal), IVF can be a great option.
I also advise women suffering from Polycystic Ovaries (PCOS) to go for IVF, if ovulation induction has remained unsuccessful for them. IVF can also help in cases of severe Endometriosis. If a patient has mild to moderate Endometriosis, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) can be tried before proceeding to IVF.
The need for ICSI
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) has been a breakthrough procedure for treating male infertility. ICSI is advisable in cases where the male partner’s sperm count or a number of motile sperm is very low, or the morphology is not up to the mark. At Millennium Medical Centre (MMC IVF), we recommend ICSI based on the results of the semen analysis.
What about the extra embryos?
After a successful embryo transfer, the remaining good quality embryos can be frozen through vitrification process. This gives them an excellent survival rate. Women do not require ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval again, making future assisted reproduction cycles simpler, less invasive and more economical than the initial cycle.
Success rates of ICSI and IVF procedures
At MMC IVF, my team works to provide the best success rates across the country. We are constantly upgrading our stimulation procedures, embryo transfer guidelines, and laboratory culture conditions.
The woman’s age and the reason for infertility remain the two most important factors in determining the success of an IVF cycle. Since each patient is unique, we discuss their individual case history before coming up with a treatment plan for them.