Is it Worth it to Use Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection?
When you’re considering any elective medical procedure, you need to know the risks, and weigh them against the benefits. The choice of whether or not to have an elective procedure is very personal, and every person will make their choice differently. Here, we’ll discuss the major risks and benefits of using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
ICSI is a procedure that’s sometimes used as part of in vitro fertilization (IVF); in IVF, eggs are retrieved from a woman’s ovaries, combined with sperm in the laboratory, and the resulting embryos are later transferred into the woman’s uterus, where it’s hoped that they’ll implant and cause pregnancy. ICSI takes place during the fertilization stage of the procedure. It’s assisted fertilization of the egg by the sperm, in which the sperm is injected directly into the egg cell in the laboratory. For more on what it’s like to have ICSI, please see Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): the Procedure and Recovery. For more on the risks of IVF, please see In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Risks and Benefits.
Please note that this page is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for qualified, individualized medical advice. You should discuss your potential elective procedure with your own doctor(s), including your primary care physician and the provider who will perform your procedure if you decide to proceed.
Any treatment has risks, and it’s important to be aware of them so that you can weigh them against the benefits.
With ICSI, as with any cycle of IVF, there is a significant risk that it won’t be successful. With certain types of infertility diagnoses, ICSI decreases this risk of a cycle failure, but that risk is still present.
Some centers use ICSI with all IVF cycles, no matter what the medical conditions of the parents are. When this approach has been studied scientifically in large studies, it doesn’t produce an increase in pregnancy rates, and so it isn’t recommended that ICSI be performed unless there’s a specific reason to do so.
ICSI itself does not appear to pose significant risks. Large studies have found no increase in birth defects or other problems with ICSI as compared to traditional IVF. The risks associated with ICSI are the risks of the IVF, especially the ovulation induction medications that are necessary to perform IVF. To learn more about these risks, please visit In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Risks and Benefits as well as Ovulation Induction: Risks and Benefits.
IVF with ICSI can allow a woman to become a mother, or a man to become a father, who otherwise would never have had their own children. Whether the parents are genetically related to the child or use donor eggs/sperm, whether the woman carries her children herself or uses a gestational surrogate, IVF and ICSI can create a family that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.
Although IVF with ICSI carries many risks, many women believe that almost anything is worth enduring for their children. Most people who have children wouldn’t trade them for anything. Although IVF may cause discomfort and carries significant risks, if it allows a woman to become pregnant with her child, these downsides are often quickly forgotten.
The cost for ICSI is around $1,500; this is in addition to the regular cost of an IVF cycle, which is around $12,400. The cost varies depending on several factors, including the region and the particular clinic. You should check with the provider(s) you’re considering to determine the exact cost. Keep in mind that financing is often available. For more detail, visit our Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) Cost page.