Is the ICSI Procedure Right for You?

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The intra-cytoplasm sperm injection or ICSI procedure can be used during IVF treatment to increase the chances of successful fertilisation. ICSI isn’t always needed for successful fertility treatment, but it can help when there are problems with the sperm or you have experienced a low fertilisation rate during previous rounds of IVF.

What Happens During ICSI?

The ICSI procedure is slightly different from the more common form of IVF. During ICSI the egg will be fertilised in vitro before being placed into the womb, but the sperm will get a little extra help. Usually in IVF the sperm are simply placed next to the egg and then make their own way towards it. In the ICSI procedure, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg to ensure that fertilisation happens. The IVF procedure can then proceed as normal, with the fertilised egg being injected into the womb.

Who Should Have ICSI?

Since the ICSI procedure ensures that the sperm reaches the egg it is generally recommended when the chances of the sperm managing to get there on its own are low. Your fertility doctor may recommend using ICSI if you have a particularly low sperm count or if there are other problems with the sperm, such as low motility or an unusual shape, that could make it more difficult for one of the sperm cells to make it to the egg. ICSI can also be used if the sperm has been frozen, as this can slightly lower the sperm quality, or if it had to be collected surgically, as this often results in a smaller than normal sample. ICSI can also be used to increase the chances of fertilisation if previous rounds of IVF resulted in no or very few fertilisations. Although the reason for this isn’t always known, the ICSI procedure can help to make the next round of IVF more successful.


What are Ovarian Cysts?

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Ovarian cysts are very common, but they can be divided into two different types. Most are functional ovarian cysts, which often develop during the menstrual cycle and are usually harmless. However, sometime a pathological ovarian cyst can develop that may require treatment.

Functional Ovarian Cysts

Functional cysts can develop when a tiny mistake happens during the normal menstrual cycle. Your ovaries usually release an egg every month, which travels down the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. Before the egg can be released it has to be matured. This happens inside a special structure known as a follicle. When the egg is ready, the follicle bursts. The egg is released and the follicle should then disappear. However, if the egg isn’t released or the follicle doesn’t break down properly, it can grow into an ovarian cyst, which is simply a fluid-filled sac that sits in the ovary. These cysts usually disappear within a few months and are completely harmless. However, a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome can cause large numbers of cysts to develop from egg follicles that fail to mature properly. This can cause menstrual problems and other symptoms, which can be relieved with proper treatment.

Pathological Ovarian Cysts

However, ovarian cysts can sometimes develop because of abnormal cell growth and these pathological ovarian cysts can be more problematic. A pathological cyst can grow from the cells of the ovary itself or the cells that are supposed to be developing into mature eggs, and they can develop whether you are still menstruating or you have been through the menopause. Although many of these ovarian cysts are benign and harmless, some of them can grow large enough to start causing problems if they burst or get in the way of the blood supply to your ovaries. Some of these cysts can also develop into ovarian cancer, although this is rare. If there is a risk of cancer or the cyst grows too large and starts causing symptoms, it might need to be removed surgically.