As fate would have it, 40 per cent of all American couples are unable to conceive children in the most usual natural way. And the statistics is pretty much similar all over the globe. The reason for this might be the fact that women choose to bear children later in their lifetime. As a matter of fact, physical female fertility opportunities drop greatly after the age of thirty-five. This is when ICSI, IVF and other such programs move on to the scene. Besides, it is also a great option for men with low-motility semen. The treatment consists of three stages - ICSI preparation, the operation itself and the closely monitored after-fertilization period.
The first step in ICSI preparation is thorough examinations by professional medics. Then semen preparation takes place. In many cases the doctors will search a male partner's ejaculate for sperm to find the most viable and motile. Even if there is just a few of them, they will be searched out and used anyway.
Sometimes semen preparation gets more complicated when a man's ejaculate contains no sperm. In such cases testicle biopsy will be performed to find the immotile semen there, no matter how rich or weak. The next step in semen preparation is washing it in a chemical solution to find the ones with the most fertilization potential. Then the sperm is injected into an egg.
The female partner also undergoes some ICSI preparation. She takes special prescription drugs in order to stimulate the development of eggs. While normally only one egg per month is produced, the drugs make the production of several eggs possible. Then the doctor removes the eggs.
ICSI preparation as well as the process itself involves specialized equipment, namely instruments for ICSI. One of them is a needle for male semen withdrawal - the procedure itself is called percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration and it is performed under anaescetic. The female partner's eggs are removed using yet another fine hollow needle and the procedure is performed under local anaescetic. Another one of ICSI instruments is ultrasound that helps the doctors with finding the eggs. Later extremely high powered microscopes are used to inject the sperm into mature eggs.
Extremely powerful magnification is needed in order to perform this procedure. The injection itself is completed with the help of a very fine needle. Yet another variety of instruments for ICSI are catheters. They are used to put the fertilized sperm into the woman's uterus near a fallopian tube. This is considered a non-surgical procedure. Ovulation test kits and regular pregnancy tests can also be referred to instruments for ICSI as they also take active part in ICSI preparation and the after" period.
Despite the careful ICSI preparation in some cases the fertilization does not occur. That is why extra eggs are frozen and stored in case more attempts will be needed. But still, all the babies born so far via ICSI are mentally and physically healthy and genetically considered their fathers' off spring.