The fertilised egg, or embryo, is allowed to grow in a protected environment for three to five days, after which it is transferred into the woman’s uterus, increasing the odds that a pregnancy will result.
The procedure, first utilised in 1978, requires the woman’s ovaries to first be stimulated with fertility drugs to produce multiple mature eggs. For many couples battling infertility issues, this gives them the best possible chance of having a baby.
ICSI, or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, is very similar to conventional IVF in that the sperm and eggs are collected from each partner. The difference lies in the method of achieving fertilisation. In IVF, the eggs and sperm are mixed together in the laboratory and the sperm fertilises the egg naturally. In ICSI, however, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg. This method has been increasingly applied globally to address problems of severe male infertility. Low sperm count, poor quality of sperm, and inability to fertilise the egg are some of the issues for which ICSI may be suggested. What is PICSI?
PICSI, or Physiological Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, is an added sperm selection tool in the treatment of ICSI that involves selecting the best possible sperm for fertilisation in the IVF protocol. This is important because the better the quality of the sperm, the better the chance of a successful fertilisation. PICSI is based on a concept called Hyaluronan (a material found in most parts of the body, including around the female egg) binding. What it effectively does is select sperm according to how well they bind to the Hyaluronan around the egg cell, through a test called a Hyaluronan Binding Assay. While sperm are traditionally selected for ICSI based on their appearance, PICSI allows for a choice that is instead made based on the sperm’s ability to fertilise and function. This negates the concern around the fact that chromosomal defects can still be found within healthy-looking sperm.
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HART Fertility Clinic Suite 1102, 11th Floor,
Netcare Christiaan Barnard Hospital,
D.F. Malan Street,
Cape Town, 8000
Cell: 081 572 9190
Landline: 021 286 2294
WhatsApp: 082 627 4910