ICSI and IMSI

A high precision laboratory technique
to fertilise an egg with one
morphologically selected sperm

Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
ICSI was introduced as a clinical level improvement to conventional IVF treatments. It involves carefully selecting only one single sperm of the best quality for injection into an egg to achieve fertilisation.
This procedure is done using a high precision technique called ‘micromanipulation’. The resulting embryo is then transferred back into the uterus to continue its development as with a normal pregnancy.
Why?
ICSI is recommended when there is severe male factor infertility, including low sperm concentration, poor motility, blockages in the male reproductive tract or where there is a desire to get pregnant after having had a vasectomy. It may also be advised when the female has a very low yield of eggs during egg retrieval so as to directly improve the chances of fertilisation by clinical intervention. Your IVF London consultant may also recommend this enhanced procedure if a previous IVF treatment has resulted in a low fertilisation rate of eggs.
How?
The woman will be required to undergo ovarian stimulation to prepare her eggs for collection as in a traditional IVF treatment plan. The sperm from the male partner will then be processed, washed and inspected in our laboratory to select only one sperm which will then be carefully injected into a retrieved egg. The aim is to inject the most normal looking sperm with good progressive movement into each mature egg.  In cases of surgically retrieved sperm ICSI or IMSI may be recommended to achieve fertilization.

Our embryologists will closely monitor the fertilization procedure and the developing embryos in preparation for embryo transfer back into the woman’s uterus. Any surplus good quality embryos can be frozen for future use.

Intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection (IMSI)
Similar to the ICSI procedure, this is an enhanced assessment of the sperm which uses a far greater magnifying power. By being able to select only the sperm without any morphological alterations called ‘vacuoles’  can increase the chances of successful fertilization and normal embryo development. It can also decrease any likelihood of miscarriage. IMSI has shown to improve chances of pregnancy in couples whereby the male has a high level of DNA fragmentation index in the sperm.
Why?
IMSI is recommended when there is severe male factor infertility including known morphology factors and also where previous ICSI treatment has been unsuccessful.
How?
Similar to ICSI, the woman must first be stimulated with medications to prepare for an egg retrieval procedure. The ejaculated or surgically retrieved sperm is washed and prepared prior to conducting the IMSI procedure within our laboratory. Our embryologist will conduct an inspection and selection of one single sperm of the best quality using a high powered inverted microscope. Each mature egg is injected with a single best quality (non-vacuolated/least vacuolated) sperm to achieve fertilization.
What happens next?
In both ICSI and IMSI procedures, as soon as the embryo has been transferred into the woman’s uterus, she will be need to continue taking any drugs prescribed in her IVF treatment and wait 16 days before taking a pregnancy test to see if the treatment has been successful. She can continue her day to day activities but we recommend she refrain from any strenuous physical exercise and rest if she feels the need to. The clinic will confirm your pregnancy with ultrasound scans and blood tests before discharging you back to your own GP for antenatal care.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE-EFFECTS/RISKS?
Fertilisation rates following ICSI/IMSI can be high, but unfortunately not all fertilised eggs will develop into healthy embryos. Depending on the woman’s age, some of the eggs may be abnormal and therefore fertilisation may result in an abnormal embryo. It is rare that any eggs, sperm or resultant embryos are damaged in the procedure although some of the eggs may be very fragile and may not be able to sustain the micromanipulation procedure leading to disintegration. The HFEA site also acknowledges that there may be a risk of long term health issues for children conceived using IVF with ICSI as the sperm used in the procedure may not have otherwise fertilized an egg naturally, although, as yet, there is no conclusive evidence.

It is important for you and your partner to discuss the ICSI risks and benefits with our Consultant as they can provide information that’s specific to your personal fertility history. By obtaining a better understanding of ICSI risks and how they may impact you and your family, can help you make an informed decision on whether or not to pursue this particular course of fertility treatment.

Why Choose Us?

Here are some facts about your fertility journey with us that we’d like to share with you:

Every evaluation and treatment plan is uniquely tailored to meet your individual needs
You will have access to leading professionals, with over 35 years combined expertise, providing you with confidence and reassurance in your fertility diagnosis and subsequent treatment
Our multidisciplinary team includes specialists in fertility, urology, nutrition, counselling, genetics, endocrinology, haematology and weight management to provide a comprehensive range of support as and when you need it
We will work with you closely to understand your individual circumstances, identify any problems and agree with you, the best course of action to help make your dream a reality
We will always be honest and open about your chances of success with treatment.
Your comfort and care is always our top priority
Our focus remains entirely on you as an individual, your unique needs and your wellbeing
All investigations and treatments are provided within our new state-of-the-art clinic based in Elstree which offers a spacious environment with comfortable surroundings, to enhance your care and experience. We offer investigations and scans at our satellite locations too.
Our friendly consultant-led team is here to support you at every step throughout your fertility journey
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