Setting aside one day a year to honor our parents, to show them how much we appreciate them, and to thank them for what they have done for us, is a wonderful idea. Most people celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Unfortunately, Father’s Day can serve as a very painful reminder to men who have fertility problems.
However, specialists advise that men with fertility problems should not throw in the towel without exploring all the options. There have been huge strides forward in the way in which fertility problems can be dealt with in modern medicine. Males with low sperm counts who may have unsuccessfully tried to get their partners pregnant using IVF in the past might be surprised to know that new techniques have revolutionized the success rate.
ICSI stands for intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection. This is a medical term which simply means that sperm is injected directly into eggs that have been taken from the female. This infertility treatment makes use of sophisticated equipment that lets doctors see and select an individual sperm, and then deliver the sperm to the heart of the egg (the cytoplasm). The results of this procedure are nothing short of spectacular. Around 80% of eggs treated this way will fertilize normally.
Who is a good candidate for ICSI?
Men with low sperm counts may find it difficult to make their partners pregnant. Evolution has dictated that hundreds of millions of sperm are ejaculated during intercourse, yet hardly any will ever fertilize an egg. When a male has a low sperm count (that is, below 20 million sperm per ml of semen), the chances of getting a partner pregnant are very low. ICSI could be the solution for men with low sperm counts.
Another common issue is when the sperm count is reasonably high, but the sperm have what is called low motility. When sperm are ejaculated, they use their tails to propel themselves. In some men, the sperm are unable to get sufficient movement into their tails to have any chance of reaching an egg. This is yet another condition that can be effectively addressed using ICSI.
Why ICSI is so useful
The procedure means a man only has to produce a single sperm for scientists to be able to fertilize his partner’s eggs. This means men with low sperm counts, or those who are clinically infertile (who usually have some sperm in their ejaculate) can become fathers.