Why Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection?
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, is not a stand-alone assisted reproductive technology, but can be used as part of an IVF procedure to increase the chances of pregnancy in certain cases. In traditional IVF, after the eggs are retrieved from the woman’s body, the man’s sperm are placed next to them in the laboratory, and the sperm must fertilize the eggs themselves. This requires that the sperm break through the protective layer surrounding the egg (the zona pellucida) in order to enter the egg. If the sperm have abnormal motility or morphology, they may have difficulty doing so; if the sperm count is extremely low, there may also be a low chance of an egg being fertilized. ICSI involves the use of a special tool to inject a sperm directly inside of an egg; in other words, it is artificial fertilization.
If you’re choosing to use assisted reproductive technology, make sure you’re choosing it because you really want it, not to please someone else or to fit an imagined ideal. No one else can make the choice for you; it’s your body, and you’re in charge of it. After you do your research and understand the procedure, if you believe that IVF and ICSI are right for you, then proceed. You can learn more about the ICSI procedure, its risks and benefits, in our Education Wiki.
While the ICSI procedure is not a stand-alone procedure, but rather is an optional part of an IVF procedure, there is usually an extra cost for ICSI. This is typically around $1,500. This does not mean that your IVF/ICSI procedure will cost only this amount; rather, it means that ICSI will increase the cost of your IVF (which is, on average, around $12,400 for the first cycle) by around $1,500.
Keep in mind that this is only an average; it varies by region and by individual clinic, so you should check with the provider(s) you’re considering to determine their exact fee for the procedure. Ask what’s included in that fee, to make sure you aren’t surprised by extra costs when you get the bill later.
As with IVF, the use of ICSI may result in the creation of more viable embryos than will be transferred into the woman’s body. The cost of IVF and ICSI does not include the cost of storing these extra embryos. These embryos can be frozen for possible future use, but there will be an extra cost associated with their storage that is not usually included in the regular IVF cost.
Will Insurance Cover It?
Some insurance policies cover the cost of assisted reproductive technology, while others specifically exclude this type of treatment. In many cases, there will be only partial coverage of your treatment, or coverage will be limited to a certain number of cycles or certain types of treatment. Even if you have coverage for IVF, your insurance might not cover ICSI. You should check with your insurance company to determine your coverage before you begin IVF or ICSI.
What Are the Financing Options?
To many people, paying thousands of dollars up front seems impossible. However, if you don’t already have the money saved, you have many options available for financing. Many infertility clinics offer financing plans for their patients. You can also get a medical credit card or other credit card, often with an attractive introductory interest rate; a medical loan, personal loan, or home equity loan from your bank; a loan from your 401(k); or loans or gifts from family and friends. Even if your credit isn’t great, you’d be surprised how many options you have. For more details about the financing options for your procedure, check out our Assisted Reproductive Technology Financing page.