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Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Disadvantages

Many of the risks related to ICSI are the same as for IVF, which is known to increase the risks of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a condition that sometimes occurs as a result of taking fertility drugs, and multiple pregnancy, which occurs in 30 percent of IVF-related procedures. While you may be happy to have more than one baby, the risk of miscarriage and other complications are significantly increased in such cases.

Other disadvantages include an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, in which case an embryo drifts up to your fallopian tubes or abdominal cavity and implants there instead of in your uterus. Additionally, in cases of severe male infertility problems, the genetic cause of your partner's infertility may be passed on to the child. However, because most ICSI babies worldwide have not yet reached an age to reproduce, more research needs to

be done before any formal conclusions can be made about these risks. There have been recent concerns that ICSI may carry an increased rate of birth defects. While previous studies did not find any differences between ICSI and non-ICSI babies, a recent, larger study published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online found that, overall, major problems that impact quality of life and need medical attention affected 8.6 percent of ICSI babies, versus 6.9 percent of babies conceived naturally. The most common problems were heart and internal urinary/genital defects, both of which increased by 1 percent more than normal in ICSI babies.

Success Rates

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, fertilization occurs in 50 to 80 percent of injected eggs. Approximately 30 percent of all ICSI cycles performed in the United States in 1998 resulted in a live birth, which is comparable to rates seen with IVF. In addition, younger couples may achieve even more favorable results. Factors such as poor egg quality and advanced maternal age may result in lower rates of success.

Cost

In the United States, one cycle of ICSI can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. The price varies depending on where you live, your medications, and the number of cycles you undergo. Many insurance companies do not cover the cost of fertility procedures, but financing plans may be available through your doctor.

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