ICSI treatment is an option for conceiving with male infertility. It is an advanced fertility treatment which gives best success in the hands of experts.
In human being formation of an embryo from a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm is a very complex phenomenon. The sperm of a man is a moving cell inside the body and it must reach to the egg at appropriate time to fertilize it as the released egg from ovary can survive for only 24 hours. At times this process doesn’t happen due to any of following problems in the man
- Sperm quantity may be too low – oligospermia
- Azoospermia- No sperms are found
- Defects in sperm movement – Asthenospermia
- Sperm cannot penetrate the egg due to a thick covering – thick zona
Before a man’s sperm can fertilize a woman’s egg, the head of the sperm must attach to the zona of the egg. Once attached, the sperm penetrates through the outer layer to the inside of the egg (cytoplasm), where fertilization takes place.
Sometimes the sperm cannot penetrate the outer layer, for a variety of reasons. The egg’s outer layer may be thick or hard to penetrate or the sperm may be unable to swim. In these cases, a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be done to fertilize the egg inside the labaoratory. During ICSI, a single sperm is injected directly into the cytoplasm the egg.
How ICSI is different from IVF?
There are two ways that an egg may be fertilized in the laboratory: IVF and ICSI. In traditional IVF, 50,000 or more swimming sperm are placed next to the egg in a laboratory dish. Fertilization occurs spontaneously when one of the sperm enters into the cytoplasm of the egg. In the ICSI process, a tiny needle, called a micropipette, is used to inject a single sperm into the center of the egg. Fertilization achieved through ICSI can be up to 80-90% whereas through IVF it is aound 50 -60 %. With either traditional IVF or ICSI, once fertilization occurs, the fertilized egg (now called an embryo) grows in a laboratory for 2 to 5 days before it is transferred to the woman’s uterus (womb).
Why ICSI is needed?
ICSI helps to overcome fertility problems, such as:
- The male partner produces too few sperm to do artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination [IUI]) or IVF.
- The sperm may not move in a normal fashion, hence cannot reach up to the egg in time.
- The sperm may have trouble attaching to the egg , Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection overcomes this.
- Azoospermia due to a blockage in the male reproductive tract may keep sperm from getting out. In these couples the sperms are obtained directly from Testes through a minor procedure like PESA or TESE. ICSI helps these couples to achieve a pregnancy even though no sperms are found in semen analysis.
- At times, traditional IVF fails to create embryos in some patients. ICSI can achieve fertilization in such patients regardless of the condition of the sperm.
- ICSI is used along with IVM (In vitro maturation of eggs).
- ICSI is necessary where frozen eggs are used for fertilization.
Does ICSI work for all?
ICSI fertilizes up to 80% of eggs. But certain issues may occur during or after the ICSI process:
- Some or all of the eggs may be damaged. Hence it is advisable to take help of an expert embryology department.
- The egg might not grow into an embryo even after it is injected with sperm. This can happen due to any inherent problem in any one of the couple.
- The embryo may stop growing after fertilization due to several reasons.
Once fertilization takes place, a couple’s chance of achieving pregnancy is same for IVF and ICSI. Chances of Pregnancy in humans is up to 30-40 % even with very good embryos. This is due to the low implantation capacity of human uterus.
Can ICSI affect a baby’s development?
If a woman gets pregnant naturally, there is a 1.5% to 3% chance that the baby will have a major birth defect. The chance of birth defects associated with ICSI is similar to IVF, but slightly higher than in natural conception.
The slightly higher risk of birth defects may actually be due to the infertility and not the treatments used to overcome the infertility.
Certain conditions have been associated with the use of ICSI, such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Angelman syndrome, hypospadias, or sex chromosome abnormalities. They are thought to occur in far less than 1% of children conceived using this technique.
Some of the problems that cause infertility may be genetic. For example, male children conceived with the use of ICSI may have the same infertility issues as their fathers. Couple should go through a counselling process at a standard ICSI center with the help of Infertility specialists and embryologists.
What is the right age for IVF ?
Pregnancy Risk increases with age . IVF Success rate decreases with age.
After which age fertility of a woman starts to fall by IVF and natural process ?
The ability to conceive starts to fall around the age of 32 years. IVF Pregnancy risk increases with age.
What are the chances of getting pregnant without IVF with respect to age?
- After the age 32, a woman’s chances of conceiving decrease gradually and significantly.
- After age of 35, the fertility reduces fast
- By age 40, fertility has fallen by 50%.
- At the age of 30 years, the chance of conceiving is about 20%.
- At the age of 40 the chance of conceiving is around 5% only.
What are the risks of Pregnancy for older mothers?
Evidence demonstrates that it is increasingly difficult for women to become pregnant after the age of 35. It also said that women over 35 have a higher risk of miscarriage.
As women get older the number and quality of egg cells that are produced by the ovaries declines.
How successful is IVF for older women?
While in vitro fertilisation (IVF) can potentially help many women conceive, much like unassisted conception it is far less successful as women get older. The live birth rate for women under 35 undergoing IVF is 31%, but the success rate is less than 5% for women over 42 years of age.
Why success rate is less for women with IVF at age more than 40 years?
Success rate is less for women with IVF at age more than 40 years because the quality of the eggs harvested in assisted techniques such as IVF deteriorates with age. These techniques stimulate the release of more egg cells but cannot compensate for the effects of reproductive ageing on egg quality.
Can I postpone my pregnancy for few years
Newer preservation techniques are designed to freeze eggs from younger women and allow postponed pregnancy at a later age. Human oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) is a procedure to preserve a woman’s eggs (oocytes). This technique was mainly developed to enable women who, due to studies or any other complication can´t deal with pregnancy during their most fertile years, to postpone their maternity until their personal situation is the right to form a family.
What are the health risks of late pregnancy?
- Greater difficulty in initially conceiving a child.
- Personal and psychological difficulties.
- Increased risk of complications for both mother and infant during pregnancy and delivery .
- Greater risk of general maternal health problems, such as high blood pressure, which can contribute to complications.
- Higher risk of miscarriage in women above the age of 35.
- Higher risk of having twins or triplets, which is itself associated with higher risk of complications.
- More chance of having a baby with a congenital abnormality, such as Down’s syndrome.
- Elevated risk of pre-eclampsia.
- Higher risk of complications during delivery, such as prolonged labor.
- Need for assisted delivery or Cesarean section is more.
- Higher chances of stillbirth.
- The risks of pregnancy and birth complications, caesarean section, increase with age.
- Complications include-
- gestational diabetes,
- placenta praevia,
- placenta abruption.
- Older women are more likely to have a baby with birth defects or genetic abnormalities.
- A woman over 35 is nearly 2.5 times more likely than a younger woman to have a stillbirth.
- By age 40, she is more than five times more likely to have a stillbirth than a woman under 35.
- For a woman aged 40 the risk of miscarriage is greater than the chance of a live birth.
Why risk of cesarean section is higher in elderly pregnant women?
Most older mothers experience normal labor and delivery. However, certain problems are more common in this age group, for example, placental abruption (premature separation of the placenta). Therefore, the rate of cesarean section is somewhat higher in older mothers.
What are the Genetic risks associated with pregnancy of elderly women?
Certain genetic risks present more often in pregnancy as women age. For example, the rate of having a baby with Down syndrome accelerates with maternal age.
While the rate of an embryo having Down syndrome at the 10-week mark of pregnancy is 1 in 1,064 at age 25, this rises to 1 in 686 at age 30 and 1 in 240 by the age of 35 years. At the age of 40, the Down syndrome rate increases still to 1 in 53, and down to 1 in 19 embryos at age 45.
What are the indications of egg freezing?
Oocyte cryopreservation can increase the chance of a future pregnancy for three key groups of women:
- those diagnosed with cancer who have not yet begun chemotherapy or radiotherapy;
- those undergoing treatment with assisted reproductive technologies who do not consider embryo freezing an option; and
- those who would like to preserve their future ability to have children, either because they do not yet have a partner, or for other personal or medical reasons.
What is the success rate of egg freezing followed by IVF?
The percentage of transferred cycles is lower in frozen cycles compared with fresh cycles (approx. 30% and 50%). Such outcomes are considered comparable.
Is genetic defect affected with egg freezing and IVF ?
Two recent studies showed that the rate of birth defects and chromosomal defects when using cryopreserved oocytes is consistent with that of natural conception.
Surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction that helps biological parents start families when they cannot conceive naturally or by artificial methods. Couples pursue surrogacy for several reasons and come from different backgrounds.
There are two types of surrogacy arrangements: gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. In gestational surrogacy, an egg is removed from the biological mother or an anonymous donor and fertilized with the sperm of the biological father or anonymous donor. The fertilized egg, or embryo, is then transferred to a surrogate who carries the baby to term. The child is thereby genetically related to the woman who donated the egg and the father or sperm donor, but not the surrogate. In a traditional surrogacy arrangement, a surrogate becomes pregnant with the use of her own eggs. Indian government legalised surrogacy in 2002 and from then gestational surrogacy is practiced in India.
GUIDELINES FOR SURROGACY –
- The ART clinic or Fertility Hospital must not be a party to any commercial element in donor programmes or in gestational surrogacy.
- A surrogate mother carrying a child biologically unrelated to her must register as a patient in her own name. While registering she must mention that she is a surrogate mother and provide all the necessary information about the genetic parents such as names, addresses, etc.
- She must not use/register in the name of the person for whom she is carrying the child, as this would pose legal issues, particularly in the untoward event of maternal death (in whose names will the hospital certify this death?).
- The birth certificate shall be in the name of the genetic parents. The clinic, however, must also provide a certificate to the genetic parents giving the name and address of the surrogate mother.
- Surrogacy by assisted conception should normally be considered only for patients for whom it would be physically or medically impossible/ undesirable to carry a baby to term.
- Payments to surrogate mothers should cover all genuine expenses associated with the pregnancy. Documentary evidence of the financial arrangement for surrogacy must be available. The ART centre should not be involved in this monetary aspect.
- A third-party donor and a surrogate mother must relinquish in writing all parental rights concerning the offspring and vice versa.
A child born through surrogacy must be adopted by the genetic (biological) parents unless they can establish through genetic (DNA) fingerprinting (of which the records will be maintained in the clinic) that the child is theirs.
- A prospective surrogate mother must be tested for HIV and shown to be seronegative for this virus just before embryo transfer. She must also provide a written certificate that (a) she has not had a drug intravenously administered into her through a shared syringe, (b) she has not undergone blood transfusion; and (c) she and her husband (to the best of her/his knowledge) has had no extramarital relationship in the last six months.
- No woman may act as a surrogate more than thrice in her lifetime
- A relative, a known person, as well as a person unknown to the couple may act as a surrogate mother for the couple. In the case of a relative acting as a surrogate, the relative should belong to the same generation as the women desiring the surrogate.
- A surrogate mother should not be over 45 years of age. Before accepting a woman as a possible surrogate for a particular couple’s child, the ART clinic must ensure (and put on record) that the woman satisfies all the testable criteria to go through a successful full-term pregnancy.
Surrogacy Rules and Regulations in India
2002 – gestational surrogacy allowed in India
2008- Commercial surrogacy allowed
2012- India bars foreign gay couples, singles from surrogacy
2016-Bill to Ban Commercial Surrogacy Introduced In
Lok Sabha, Bill is still under discussion.
No Visas to Foreigners Wanting to Visit India For Surrogacy
Surrogacy Should Be Allowed Only for Indian Couples, Government Says
2018- Central government’s women employees, whose children are born through surrogacy, will now be entitled to maternity leave, according to an official order of the personnel ministry.
Discussion on surrogacy bill
In August 2017, the Parliamentary Standing Committee submitted its 102nd report on the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016.
The report gives a clause by clause analysis of the Bill. In it, the Committee has pointed out certain pertinent observations which clearly indicate the draconian nature of the Bill, which is based on impractical and paternalistic presumptions.
Traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy?
One of the biggest and most prominent drawbacks is the contradiction in the Bill with respect to whether traditional surrogacy is allowed or gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is one where the egg of the surrogate mother and the intended father’s sperm is used to conceive the child with the help of IVF technology. It is the most widely practised forms of surrogacy.
However, it has been widely criticised due to the genetic link with the surrogate mother, which can lead to several emotional complications for the parents. On the other hand, gestational surrogacy – also referred to as “full surrogacy” – is the case where the egg and sperm are of the commissioning parents and the surrogate mother carries the fertilised egg of the intended parents. Thus, all of the genetic material involved originates either from the intended parents or donors.
The Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016, under Section 4 (iii) (b) (III) lays down: “No women shall act as a surrogate mother or help in surrogacy in any way, by providing gametes or by carrying the pregnancy, more than once in her lifetime.”
The effect of this provision under the bill is that the surrogate mother can provide her gametes and be a surrogate as well. On this, the Standing Committee opined that, “… on the one hand the Department asserts that only Gestational surrogacy is permitted under the Bill, whereas clause 4(iii)(b)(III) advocates the concept of Traditional Surrogacy. Thus, there is an apparent contradiction between the Department assertions and provisions of clause 4(iii)(b)(III). The Committee, therefore, recommends that the infirmity in clause 4(iii)(b)(III) be rectified and the clause be amended suitably so as to spell out in unambiguous terms that the surrogate mother will not donate her eggs for the surrogacy.”
The object of the Bill is to prevent exploitation, PREVENT COMMERCIAL SURROGACY-
However, this very basic provision if not rectified can lead to the opening of a Pandora’s box, especially since the current Bill provides that surrogacy can only be performed by a “close relative”. The emotional stress and complications of having a close relative as a surrogate, on the life of the surrogate child, surrogate mother and the commissioning parents, is immeasurable.
Close relative as a surrogate
The Committee has very beautifully dealt with the issue of “close relative” being a surrogate. The object of this provision was to curtail exploitation of the surrogate; however, it would be unrealistic and very complex. The provision can be analysed from two perspectives. First and foremost, infertility is a taboo in India and for couples to come forward and undergo Artificial Reproductive Technique (‘ART’) procedures and surrogacy procedures is frowned upon. In such a situation, to force couples to only be able to have close relatives as surrogates is arbitrary and violative of their basic reproductive rights.
Second, in the context of the surrogate mother, it would be unfair for her to have to see the child repeatedly, and the effect the same would have on the child is a different matter of concern altogether. The Committee has recognised these factors and suggested that “limiting the practice of surrogacy to close relatives is not only non-pragmatic and unworkable but also has no connection with the object to stop the exploitation of surrogates envisaged in the proposed legislation.
“The Committee, therefore, recommends that this clause of “close relative” should be removed to widen the scope of getting surrogate mothers from outside the close confines of the family of the intending couple. In fact, both related and unrelated women should be permitted to become a surrogate.”
Waiting period 5 years before commissioning surrogate-
ART and surrogacy procedures have emerged essentially due to increasing infertility in the society. The current Bill defines infertility as the inability to conceive after five years whereas the previous draft Bills, of 2008 and 2014, defined it as the inability to conceive after one year.
The Committee has compared this definition of infertility with that given by the WHO and suggested that “since conception has many interplay functions, a five-year time bar would add to the misery of already distressed intending couples. The five-year waiting period is therefore arbitrary, discriminatory and without any definable logic. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the definition of infertility should be made commensurate with the definition given by WHO. The words ‘five years’ in clause 2(p) and 4 (iii) (c) II, be therefore, replaced with ‘one year’ and consequential changes be made in other relevant clauses of the Bill.”
This suggestion by the Committee is based on the basic fundamental Right to Reproduction and the Right to Privacy. How and when individuals wish to reproduce is their own personal discretion. The government can impose limitations and set criteria, however, the same should be rational and not arbitrary.
The Committee makes several other laudable suggestions, some of which take root from the previous ART Bills and some which are based on reasonable analysis of the current social-medical scenario. It suggested that ‘compensated surrogacy’ should be allowed and that single parents and live-in partners should be allowed to commission surrogacy.
Provision of breast milk banks
The Committee also recommended that there should be a provision of breast milk banks for the surrogate child, and a tripartite surrogacy agreement should be entered into between the parties instead of separate agreements, to make the process easier.
The Committee has analysed the bill in a very comprehensive manner and put forward suggestions which if not incorporated would have a domino effect and push the entire surrogacy industry underground, which in turn could lead to the exploitation of the all the members of the surrogacy arrangement. Surrogacy is undertaken by individuals to procreate and to found a family; the essence of that needs to be understood and retained.
The parliamentary standing committee on health after examining the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 has made a case to allow surrogacy on payment of money on the grounds that “economic opportunities available to surrogates through surrogacy services should not be dismissed in a paternalistic manner”.
The committee observed that if many impoverished women are able to provide their children with education, construct home, start a small business, etc. by resorting to surrogacy, there is no reason to take this away from them. While it is mandated that organ, donation should be altruistic, the committee has held that altruistic surrogacy was “extreme and entails high expectation from a woman willing to become a surrogate without any compensation or reward”.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 21 st March 18 gave approval for amending the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 to provide for rights of child born through surrogacy to that of a natural child or biological child and mandate for surrogacy clinics to be registered with the appropriate authorities in the states.
The amendments also seek 16 months of extended insurance coverage for the surrogate mother to cover all complications besides a strict clause to safeguard the surrogate mother from exploitation, the Union Health Ministry said.
Also, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) now has been kept out of the purview of the Bill, it added.
The proposed legislation ensures effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian infertile couples, as per an official statement.
Once it becomes the Act, it will regulate the surrogacy services in the country, control the unethical practices in surrogacy and prevent its commercialization of surrogacy. It will also prohibit potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.
HOW EVER THE FERTILITY CONSULTANTS AND PROSPECTIVE CUSTOMERS ALL OVER INDIA ARE EAGERLY WAITING FOR THE LEGALISATION OF SURROGACY BILL ,AS FOR THE TIME BEING THE TECHNOLOGY IS AT STANDSTILL.