ICSI – How it improves fertility?

Is getting pregnant is finding unicorn? Then you must know what Infertility is and how effective is ICSI procedure.

Infertility is a condition where a couple are unable to conceive after 1 year of unprotected intercourse. Some of the factors that may be responsible for infertility is stress, lifestyle changes, and environmental factors. About 46% of population surveyed in nine Indian cities suffered from infertility. And a majority of infertile couples belonged to the childbearing age. The World Bank estimated a drop in fertility rates since the year 2000.And current research suggests there has been a 20-30 % rise in infertility rate in the past five years.

About 34 percent if couples between 21 and 30 opted for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). ART includes Natural Cycle Monitoring and Timed Intercourse, Intra Uterine Insemination and Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection.

ICSI – Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

ICSI is the process of injecting a single sperm into a single egg using a specialised instrument called micro-manipulator.

It Involves:

  • Stimulation of multiple follicles (eggs)
  • Retrieval of oocytes (eggs)
  • Retrieving sperm from the husband or donor
  • Fertilization of eggs in Embryology Lab
  • Transfer of Embryos into the uterus

Who should undergo treatment with ICSI?

  • Couples who have failed to conceive for a year.
  • Blocked or damaged Fallopian tubes.
  • Low sperm count for the husband.
  • Poor sperm motility
  • Failed IUI (intra uterine insemination)
  • Advanced maternal age above 38 years
  • Reduced ovarian reserve.

Unexplained infertility, where no actual cause of infertility has been diagnosed.

How it works:

A normal woman only produces one egg per cycle, in an IVF cycle, we are able to produce several eggs per cycle. The best quality embryos are fertilized with the best quality sperm. Depending on the age of the patient, we transfer 2-4 embryos per cycle. All remaining embryos are frozen for the next cycle. We are bypassing all cervical factors of infertility (thick mucous plug, anti-sperm antibodies) and directly implanting the embryos into the uterine cavity. In essence, we are compressing several months of “natural” attempts into one cycle. By transferring fertilized embryos directly into the cavity we are bypassing cervical and tubal factors responsible for infertility.

How is ICSI performed?

Fertility drugs will be given to stimulate ovaries to develop several mature follicles.

An HCG injection is given 36 hours prior to egg collection. The eggs are collected in the operation theatre under anaesthesia. The sperm sample is obtained either on the same day or a frozen sample (collected earlier) is thawed and used. A single sperm is injected into the egg using a fine needle from the micro-manipulator. This injected egg now becomes the embryo and is incubated for 3 or 5 days depending on the type of embryo transfer. After this initial incubation period, the embryo is transferred directly into the uterus using a specialised catheter. This procedure is done in the operating theatre and does not require anaesthesia. After embryo transfer, you will be prescribed medications to maintain the pregnancy growth. After 3 days of rest, you can go back to your normal routine, although strenuous workouts, sexual intercourse should be avoided.

When do I take a pregnancy test?

A pregnancy test can be done 2 weeks after the procedure. We recommend a B – HCG blood test as it is more sensitive and gives a more accurate result than a urine pregnancy test.


Several factors dictate the success rate – the skill of the gynaecologist, the type of media used, the time of day, the quality of egg, etc.
Some of the generalised success rates across India.

40-60 per cent if you are between 18 and 34

30-40 per cent if you are between 35 and 37

20- 30 per cent if you are between 38 and 39

20 per cent if you are aged between 40 and 42

10 per cent if you are between 43 and 44

5 per cent if you’re 45 or over.


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