ICSI: what is it and can it be useful in your fertility journey?

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ICSI: what is it and can it be useful in your fertility journey?

IVF Cycle - inFertile Life

IVF Cycle - inFertile Life

ICSI stands for intracytoplasmic sperm injection and it is used when the cause of infertility is sperm-related, which means when sperm has an abnormal shape or is not moving normally.

We know that this is the case in 50% of infertility cases and ICSI is a common procedure with good success rates (around 90% fertilisation!). Of course, as part of an IVF cycle, there are other factors to consider and the rates for pregnancy and live birth are similar to a normal IVF cycle.

IVF Cycle - inFertile Life

What does it involve?

ICSI can be done as part of an IVF cycle. It consists in selecting sperm and injecting it into the egg (as opposed to letting sperm and egg fertilise by themselves in a petri dish). This is done by the embryologist.

When would it be useful?

  • Low sperm count
  • Sperm abnormally shaped (poor morphology) or they don’t move normally (poor motility)
  • Prior IVF with fertilisation problems
  • If you have to have sperm collected surgically from the testicles or epididymis (for example, if you had a vasectomy, don’t ejaculate sperm or if you have a low sperm count)
  • If you’re using frozen sperm
  • If you’re having embryo testing for a genetic condition

Is there anything I can do to help the process?

ICSI will be performed by the skilled embryologist so you don’t have to worry about that part. But there is a lot you can do to improve the quality of your sperm to increase your overall chances of success.

  • Keep your private parts comfortable, avoid tight trousers or clothes that increase the temperature in that area.
  • A healthy diet, avoiding trans fats and using more unsaturated vegetable oils
  • Choose slow carbs.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Move to the fertility zone for weight (BMI 20 to 24)
  • Move to the fertility zone for activity, like jogging, swimming, leisure bike riding.
  • Balance caffeine intake.
  • Reduce alcohol, it causes impotence, reduced libido and affects sperm quality.
  • Stop smoking, it damages sperm DNA, takes longer to conceive and affects reproductive life span of daughters.I know this is a lot of changes, but slow and steady, one change at a time, you will be able to improve your health and the quality of your sperm. If you need guidance, advice or someone to support you in introducing these changes, consider a fertility coach. You will have higher chances of keeping on track with the changes, keeping motivated and to make this part of a new balanced lifestyle.

    Andreia Trigo RN BSc MSc

    TEDx Speaker and NLP Coach of the Year 2017

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