If your pregnancy delay is a result of male fertility problems, such as a low sperm count, or sperm that can’t penetrate the egg, IVF alone unlikely to help. This is where Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is most appropriate. ICSI is also useful if you’ve had a vasectomy but now want to have children.
At Virtus Health, it is our policy to encourage the use of standard IVF rather than ICSI unless there is a specific indication for ICSI.
- What is ICSI?
ICSI can be part of your IVF treatment cycle. The major difference with ICSI is how we achieve fertilisation: using very fine micromanipulation equipment, we inject a single sperm into each egg. During ICSI, sperm are selected for injection on the basis of their shape (morphology) and motility.
ICSI is often recommended when there are no sperm in the semen, and we have to obtain them surgically from the testes.
What is the ICSI process?
The ICSI process is an extra step that is used in an IVF treatment cycle. First, your ovaries are stimulated using a series of hormone injections, to encourage the growth of multiple eggs. Once the optimal number of follicles have developed, you will be given an injection to trigger ovulation, and the eggs contained within the follicles will then be collected in a day surgery procedure.
However, instead of the eggs being then placed together in a dish with your partner's or a donor's sperm (standard IVF), a highly skilled embryologist will perform ICSI, which involves injecting a single sperm into each egg using very fine micromanipulation equipment to achieve fertilisation.
- What is PICSI (ICSI-HA)?
PICSI (sometimes also referred to as ICSI-HA) is a process that is used to select sperm for ICSI. The selection of sperm is based upon those that are able to bind to a hyaluronan hydrogel, mimicking the natural binding of mature sperm to eggs in the female.
- What is the PICSI process?
PICSI involves the use of a special sterile culture dish with three microdots of hyaluronan attached to its lower interior surface. The dish is used as an additional step in the selection of sperm at the time of the ICSI (micro-injection) procedure. A suspension of prepared sperm is added to the microdots and within a few minutes, motile sperm will bind to the hyaluronan. It should however be noted that for the sperm to bind to the hyaluronan they must be progressively motile and therefore patients using testicular or non-motile sperm cannot use PICSI.
- Who might benefit from the use of PICSI?
Research indicates the following patient groups may benefit from the use of PICSI:
- Poor fertilisation in previous ICSI cycle
- Poor embryo development in previous ICSI attempts
- High levels of sperm DNA damage (identified from SCSA testing)
- Reduced sperm morphology
- Reduced sperm motility
- How much does ICSI cost?
ICSI is used in conjunction with an IVF cycle and has a cost of approximately $300-$400 (after Medicare rebates have been claimed).
Our nurses and administrative staff are experts in explaining all of the costs involved and navigating the Medicare Safety Net scheme and can also provide you with current costs. If you have any questions regarding ICSI costs, please call 1800 111 483 or send us an email.
- Download IVF & ICSI booklet
For more information about ICSI, visit our Patient Information Booklets page. This booklet talks about the stages of IVF and ICSI treatment, what to expect from treatment, and gives advice on how to cope with the stress of IVF and ICSI treatment.
To find out more about ICSI or PICSI, or to book an appointment with a Queensland Fertility Group Fertility Specialist, call 1800 111 483 to speak with an experienced fertility consultant.