ICSI Success Rates

ICSI or Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection is a type of ART (Assisted Reproductive Therapy) that could form part of the specific fertility treatment process called IVF or In Vitro Fertilisation, under certain conditions.

ICSI has a great success rate, and in this article we look at what ICSI is and what the procedure entails; share the ICSI success rates achieved at Cape Fertility in Cape Town, South Africa; find out why it is so effective in treating certain causes of infertility and who would benefit most from this treatment; and provide guidance about how select the right clinic for ICSI treatment.

ICSI stands for “Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection” and is pronounced “eek-see”. Since the first births following ICSI treatment were reported in 1992, ICSI has become the mainstay treatment for severe male infertility and for overcoming fertilisation failure.

Because of its amazing success rate, ICSI makes it possible for nearly every man to have his own biological child, even in the case of severe fertility problems. Today, ICSI is used in nearly 66% of all assisted reproductive treatments worldwide and has resulted in the birth of millions of babies.

What is ICSI?

It is important to understand that ICSI is not a stand-alone treatment. ICSI is actually one of the procedures completed during the IVF treatment process, which spans around 28 days.

IVF – short for in vitro fertilisation – is a safe and trusted medical treatment and one of the best known assisted reproductive technologies used to treat fertility problems.

ICSI is used under specific circumstances when, during IVF treatment, the fertilisation of the eggs takes place in the lab. ICSI replaces this procedure and it is very effective in certain circumstances.

What does ICSI entail?

The brief description of the IVF process below will illustrate where ICSI fits in and what it entails.

Very simply stated, during IVF treatment the female partner’s eggs (ovum) are collected and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. The resulting fertilised egg or embryo is then implanted back into the uterus.

During conventional IVF treatment, the fertilisation of the eggs is achieved in an advanced laboratory by mixing the eggs retrieved from the female partner or a donor with tens of thousands of washed sperm ‘in vitro’ (in glass), allowing the sperm direct access to fertilise the eggs.

This process is replaced by ICSI. Instead of the eggs and sperm being mixed and left to fertilise naturally as with conventional IVF treatment, during ICSI, one sperm is injected into the egg using a micromanipulation microscope.

The embryologist will choose a single sperm cell – the best and strongest available – and inject it directly into the egg.

This circumvents any possible problems with the sperm penetrating the egg.

What is ICSI’s success rate?

ICSI treatment with IVF can significantly boost the chances of a successful pregnancy, if the infertility is due to certain problems related to the ability of the sperm to penetrate and fertilise an egg.

ICSI treatment has a great success rate worldwide, and advanced procedures and state-of-the-art technology such as high-magnification ICSI microscopes continue to enhance this success rate.

At Cape Fertility, we achieve some of the best IVF success rates in the world. We are very proud of our success rate of 45% live births with ICSI. Our success rate for IVF with ICSI goes up to 65% for the patients using donor eggs from our premium Cape Fertility Egg Donor Program.

Yet, we are always striving for higher success rates to ensure even more of our patients can experience the joy of having their own biological baby.

Why ICSI is so effective in treating certain causes of infertility

For conception to occur, sperm must not only reach the egg but must also penetrate its protective layer.

If there are problems with the sperm, it may not be able to swim successfully all the way to the egg, or it may lack the ability to penetrate the egg, so even if it reaches the egg, the sperm is unable to fertilise it.

The ability of the sperm to reach and fertilise an egg is affected by its shape and size or morphology. For example, the lack of a tail will affect the sperm’s ability to travel to reach the egg. The lack of a proper head will affect the sperm’s ability to penetrate the egg for fertilization. To penetrate the egg, the sperm must also release enzymes that break down the egg’s protective barrier.

ICSI circumvents any possible problems with the sperm reaching and penetrating the egg, as the best and most healthy sperm is chosen and also injected directly into the egg.

Who benefits most from ICSI treatment?

IVF with ICSI is not a solution for all fertility problems. However, this treatment circumvents any possible problems with the sperm penetrating the egg, which therefore increases fertilisation rates.

ICSI is mainly performed where the chances of fertilisation are significantly impacted by a low sperm count or poor sperm morphology, which refers to the shape of the sperm.

It is also used in other circumstances too, for example, where the sperm – even just a single sperm – was obtained by epididymal or testes aspiration or biopsy.

It is also an option where fertilisation failed previously during conventional IVF and is recommended when performing PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) and to reduce transmission of HIV.

How select the right clinic for ICSI treatment

An important factor in the success rate you can expect from IVF with ICSI treatment is choosing the right fertility clinic for treatment.

In Claremont in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa, our experienced team at Cape Fertility offers all the latest Assisted Reproduction Therapies (ARTs), including IVF and ICSI, with great success.

We provide IVF with ICSI treatment at our purpose-built premises featuring an IVF Procedure Room, a modern sophisticated Laboratory, and an Embryo Transfer room – all adjacent to our main reception and staff offices. Our state-of-the-art laboratory is also equipped with the newest high-magnification ICSI microscope, which helps our embryologists in selecting the best sperm. High-magnification ICSI can also improve the clinical outcomes in couples with previous repeated conventional ICSI failures.

Because we believe in making quality fertility treatment affordable, so also we do not charge extra for ICSI at Cape Fertility. However, many other clinics may have a separate cost for IVF without ICSI, and another for IVF with ICSI.

If you would like to know more about IVF / ICSI treatment and if it would significantly boost your chances of IVF success, we invite you to make contact with us – it is as simple as clicking here…

We value each individual patient and pride ourselves on providing truly individualised and personalised care.

When you have your IVF with ICSI treatment at Cape Fertility, you will be under the care of one of our five reproductive specialists: all with impressive qualifications and extensive experience. You will also enjoy the support of your own IVF co-ordinator, who has a 4-year University Degree as Bachelor of Nursing (or equivalent) and is very experienced in fertility treatment and IVF/ICSI.

Your co-ordinator will guide you through every one of the various steps of the treatment cycle, while also answering the practical questions you may have and offering advice and support.