Much like IVF, Intracytoplasmic Surgical Implantation, or ICSI, involves the extraction of an egg and sperm cell, and the combining of them in a laboratory to make a viable embryo. The difference lies in how the two cells are combined. In ICSI treatment, extremely fine needles are used in conjunction with powerful microscopes to isolate a single sperm cell and inject it directly into the female egg.
ICSI treatment is often used when regular IVF treatment has consistently been unsuccessful, and is more commonly used with older patients who are more likely to suffer with more severe fertility issues.
In the past, during IVF or ICSI treatment, to examine the developing embryo scientists would need to remove the embryo from incubation for inspection. This method was flawed for two reasons. Firstly - the regular removal of the embryo would lead to changes in temperature causing damage. Secondly, the embryo could only be monitored for a
very short time, a couple of times a day; this meant that if abnormalities were developing within the embryo, they could be missed.
Thankfully, in 2009 the EmbryoScope was invented. This piece of equipment utilises a special camera within the incubation machine which takes a photograph of the developing embryo every few minutes to give the scientific staff an understanding of how well the embryo is developing.
3. EGG FREEZING
Egg freezing is utilised for numerous reasons; to preserve the fertility of those undergoing Chemotherapy - where fertility can be damaged, those undergoing fertility treatment who - for ethical reasons - do not believe in the destruction of unwanted embryos, or those who may be in the military or other life-threatening scenarios and wish
to give their partner the chance to create a family in the result of their death.
More recently, social egg freezing has become increasingly popular. Women who feel that, for reasons such as career commitment, lack of a suitable partner or just freedom of choice are opting to freeze their eggs until a point in the future that they feel happier becoming pregnant.
PGT, or Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) involves the testing of cells from embryos created following IVF to establish whether those embryos contain chromosomal abnormalities or particular gene defects that could lead to failure of an embryo to implant, miscarriage, or genetic complications in the child born.
See our full list of Treatments here.