If you’re undergoing in vitro fertilization, you want to stack the odds in your favor. Doctors will sometimes use ICSI, or IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection, to help boost your chances of having a healthy pregnancy. ICSI is often used when there are fertility problems that come from the sperm, such as a low sperm count, sperm with reduced motility, or a large number of abnormally shaped sperm. It’s also used for treating unexplained infertility in women or in women who are unable to produce a large number of healthy eggs.
In traditional IVF, sperm and egg are mixed together in the lab. ICSI takes this one step further by injecting the sperm straight into the egg via a small needle. Approximately 60 to 80 percent of eggs will fertilize after ICSI, and once fertilization occurs, the embryos from ICSI have the same chance of achieving a pregnancy as embryos that result from traditional IVF. There may be a very small increase in birth defects and chromosomal abnormalities in children born from ICSI, but much of this risk appears to be attributable to abnormalities in the sperm.
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