IVF Abroad - Patient's Guide

All you need to know about fertility treatment abroad, costs, the efficacy of IVF procedures and – the most important – legislation regulating medically assisted reproduction in 8 European countries. Download 55 pages PDF guide now!

Man consulting a doctorInfertility – not only a woman’s problem

Very often when people think of infertility they immediately think of its relation to women. However a lot of infertility derives from men. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) has become a great tool for the clinicians to fight with this male infertility. Furthermore even in cases of female infertility pregnancy rates of IVF with ICSI are as high or higher than in a standard IVF procedure.
If you’re thinking of doing IVF with ICSI it is very important you consider various advantages and disadvantages which this procedure involves.

Advantages of IVF with ICSI

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection gives you and your partner an opportunity to have a child even in cases of severe male infertility. Using ICSI can help you get pregnant even if more than one issues of infertility occur:

  • Low sperm count
  • Past IVFs without success
  • Physical blockage
  • Morphology or motility of the sperm is of poor quality
  • If you underwent vasectomy in the past

Risks of ICSI

Although ICSI is able to increase the success rates when doing IVF treatment it is not a procedure without flaws. Below you will find the risks that are involved with doing ICSI.
Embryo damage – In some cases eggs and embryos could get damaged during the process of ICSI, which might stop them from developing properly.
Multiple birth – As you might already know the IVF treatment rises the chance of having twins or triplets, additionally doing ICSI increases that chances. There is a 30 to 35% chance of getting pregnant with twins when using IVF with ICSI and 5 to 10% chance for having triplets or more.
Birth defects – Research shows that doing IVF with ICSI has a similar chance for birth defects to occur as in a natural pregnancy.
There’s also a theory that if you try to conceive naturally and the sperm is too weak to get through the egg’s shell and you will not get pregnant. That may sound negative but it is a so called “weeding out” process. It means that you really shouldn’t want become pregnant with weak sperm because it could mean it would have a negative influence of the child’s health. So the theory is that ICSI bypasses the “weeding out” letting even the weak sperm to fertilize the egg which can lead to higher risk of abnormalities.

Those specific abnormalities include:

  • Angelman syndrome and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
  • Abnormalities in the sex chromosome
  • Hypospadias which is a boy birth defect causing the urethra opening is found underneath the penis instead on the tip of the penis

Consult a doctor – always

Remember that no matter how much you read about the risks and complications concerning any assisted reproduction method, you should always ask your doctor about the risks. Your specialist will probably now all the newest information on the matter and additionally each patient is different and needs a different approach. Some risks could be higher in one patient and lower in another.
The decision whether to do IVF with ICSI is of course up to you. IVF with ICSI has obviously some significant advantages but you must carefully consider the risks and always listen to your doctor.