How Successful is ICSI?

Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection is an amazing infertility treatment which can offer couples the chance to have their own children. The procedure is a popular one and is praised for improving the chances of a successful pregnancy through an IVF protocol, how successful is ICSI?

What affects ICSI’s success?

ICSI effectively bypasses male infertility issues by directly injecting a sperm cell into an egg, thereby removing the need for the specialised sperm count, motility, and morphology (shape) which can go wrong and lead to infertility. However it does nothing to improve the quality of the egg being used, which can factor into how successful the procedure is.

Different clinics will perform ICSI in their own unique way, which will naturally result variations in how successful ICSI can be. More advanced equipment and more skilled staff will obviously contribute to improved success rates, so if you are looking to undergo an ICSI treatment it is worth finding out a clinic’s previous success rates.

Age is ultimately probably the biggest factor affecting the likelihood of ICSI’s success. Fertility is intricately linked with age, and the older you are the less fertile you become, meaning that in turn the older you are when you pursue ICSI the lower your chances of success.

So how successful is ICSI?

The UK’s reproductive health authority, the HFEA (Human Fertility and Embryology Association), monitors and reports on the success of fertility treatments across the country to give us the best information they can about procedures like ICSI. In 2006 the HFEA conducted a study investigating the number of live births through ICSI and found that:

  • Women under the age of 35 who received the treatment had a 33.2% chance of success.
  • Women between the ages of 35-37 had a 27.1% chance of success.
  • Women who had undergone an ICSI treatment aged 38-39 in fact only had a 10% chance of success.
  • Women between 40 and 42 years of age were found to have an 11.5% chance of a successful pregnancy after ICSI.
  • Between 43 and 44 women could expect a success rate of 4.55.
  • Women over the age of 44 receiving ICSI were found to have an 8.5% chance of success.

As you can see the chances of a successful treatment drop quite dramatically from 33.2% to 8.5% in a fairly small age range between 35 and 44, reflecting how crucial age is to fertility. That being said, successful treatment of women in their 50s and 60s have been reported.

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