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What are the Pros and Cons of ICSI for Infertility?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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The pros and cons of intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may vary based on the couple, but the pros generally outweigh the cons. Benefits of the procedure are that when the male in a couple has inadequate sperm numbers or mobility, the couple can still have a child that is biologically related to both partners. It is also more cost-effective than using donor sperm. It is not for everyone, however, as it is also pricier than certain other fertility treatments and may not be available in all locations.

Using ICSI for infertility has many benefits for couples who may have otherwise needed a sperm donor. Men with immobile or limited sperm may not have success using conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF) methods, which requires sperm to swim and fertilize the egg as in a normal conception, but in a petri dish rather than in a woman’s fallopian tube. Instead of doing it that way, ICSI involves the injection of sperm directly into the egg so that fertilization can take place. The fertilized eggs are then inserted into the uterus as they would be in conventional IVF.

By using ICSI for infertility with these couples, a child will still be the biological child of both parents. This is also cost-effective, as the added expense of finding and purchasing donated sperm can quickly add up, especially if success is not obtained on the first try. The overall success of ICSI for infertility in most couples is about the same as with other IVF methods.

There are a couple of drawbacks in using ICSI for infertility that couples should be aware of. For one, it is not always available in all areas. This means that in order to have it performed, couples may have to travel to a clinic which offers this procedure. It is also more costly than some other treatments, such as artificial insemination. That said, pricing is often comparable to other methods of IVF, so if simpler treatments are not an option prices may be relatively affordable when compared to similar procedures.

The success of using ICSI for infertility will depend highly on the individual couple. Overall, this procedure is most beneficial to couples wherein the female has viable eggs with few genetic defects. If not, donor eggs may be required and the savings of using the male partner’s sperm may be offset by this additional cost. Couples should discuss the best fertility treatments for them with their health care provider.

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Discussion Comments
By anon993096 — On Oct 22, 2015

So I am 16 and doing this for a school project just reading over your comments and I am just thinking if you need to sell everything to invest in this procedure, then I don't know if you should be having kids. You're obviously not financially supported enough to have children.

By anon147640 — On Jan 30, 2011

obviously fb _user either doesn't actually have a fertility problem or doesn't really, really want that family. because. if you find you are the couple who can't have a baby on your own, you will try just about anything!

The house can be rebought, and so can all the other crap. Because that's all it is: crap!

Nothing compares to that feeling, that desire of wanting a family so bad that it hurts. My first attempt at IVF failed, and now we're getting ready to try ICSI. We are selling our nissan pathfinder to pay for it. It's just a vehicle.

By XXYGuy — On Jan 09, 2011

We sold everything we owned and invested all we had to have a family. Money and possessions can always be regained but once a reasonable time to have a family has passed, it can never be regained.

By Erin Hill — On Nov 24, 2010

I don't agree with that. Those who are in the middle class may be able to afford a child when it happens naturally because that is free. What good would it do to sell all your things, use all your money, have a baby, and then you can't afford to take care of it because you've used all your savings on fertility treatments or are making payments to some doctor or both?

Even families who desperately want a child sometimes can logically do what was just suggested.

By anon127988 — On Nov 18, 2010

When an infertile couple desires a family, cost is irrelevant.

If they're not prepared to do all they can and sell everything they own to get a family, they didn't really want a family in the first place.

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