Sperm Fertilization

You have a number of fertility treatments available, which include: fertility drugs, surgery, IVF, ICSI, GIFT, ZIFT, donor eggs, and surrogacy. In 85% to 95% of cases, conventional fertility treatments, such as drug treatment and surgical repair of one’s reproductive organs, can be used to treat infertility. The ART options, which include In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) are considered by many fertility specialists as more of ‘a last resort’, in part because they are more invasive, hi-tech procedures, and certainly more costly.

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is an AVF procedure by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the womb, in vitro. This procedure involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing ova (eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilize them in a fluid medium. The fertilised egg (zygote) is then transferred to the patient’s uterus with the intent to establish a successful pregnancy.

Babies conceived as the result of IVF are sometimes called ‘test tube babies’. This term is used because early biological experiments involving cultivation of tissues were carried out in petri dishes and test tubes, and therefore the name ‘test tube babies.’ This term is quite commonly used and understood these days. However, IVF is usually performed in petri dishes. Today, in vitro refers to any biological procedure performed outside the organism it would normally be occurring in. “In vitro” stems from Latin and means “within the glass”.

Usually, In Vitro Fertilisation involves a process, in which fertilized human eggs are transferred into a woman’s uterus. The woman’s eggs are first surgically removed eggs from her ovaries, fertilized with sperm in the laboratory, and then returned to her body or donated to another woman.

Couples who undergo In Vitro Fertilisation with donor eggs have about a 30 to 50% chance of having a baby in each IVF cycle.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is an AVF procedure in which a single sperm (especially donor sperm) is injected directly into an egg.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is used to overcome male infertility problems, including low sperm count, low motility or abnormally shaped sperm. It can be used when the male has a damaged or missing vas deferens (the tubes which carry seminal fluid from the testes to the penis) or he has had an irreversible vasectomy. It may also be used where eggs cannot easily be penetrated by sperm.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is done under a microscope, using microinjectors and micropipettes. The mature oocyte is stabilized with a holding pipette. A single sperm, washed or unwashed, is immobilised by having its tail cut off with the point of the micropipette, and then it’s collected. The oolemma and the inner part of the oocyte (cytoplasm) is pierced by the micropipette, and then the sperm is then released into the oocyte. After the procedure, the oocyte will be placed into cell culture and checked on the following day for signs of fertilization.

It is believed that IVF, and ICSI increase the risk of birth defects and genetic abnormalities, though results of different studies differ.