In our IVF orientation we were told by our doctor that if anything in my semen analysis leading up to IVF was questionable (by their standards) that they’d use ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection), the process by which they take a single sperm and inject it directly into an egg for fertilization; this is in contrast to normal fertilization where they coat the egg with sperm and let nature do its thing. ICSI costs an extra $1,500 and adds a couple more drugs to our regiment. They also told us that an IVF cycle with ICSI had a slightly higher success rate than one without. Of course when we explained this to our parents they asked, “So, why don’t they just do ICSI regardless of the analysis?” Good question.
We pressed the issue with our infertility coordinator and never really got a straight answer other than that they don’t like to go too far down the road of science if they don’t have to, plus research wasn’t clear on whether or not ICSI was responsible for certain birth defects. We respect that, but considering the amount of drugs already involved with a cycle of IVF, not to mention the invasive procedures, we feel we’re waist-deep in science already (pun intended). But she sympathized saying that she asks herself the same question for us and promised that if they found one little thing questionable in my analysis they’d give us the option. Well unfortunately, but fortunately, they did find something questionable.
I’ve had semen analysis done 5 times between 3 different clinics since 2008. I’ve always been either above-average (we jokingly call this super sperm) or average. When they’re looking at motility, the movement of sperm, they’re wanting to see at least 50% moving and within that they want to see at least 20% moving very fast or rapidly. This time only 19% were moving rapidly; I must have skipped coffee that day (just kidding, it has nothing to do with that). She said overall my results weren’t bad, but that 1% for rapid motility was enough for us to be offered the option of ICSI – we signed and sent the papers this morning. Both of our parents will be very happy to hear the news.
As weird as it sounds we’re happy our doctors will have more of a hand (literally) in fertilizing our eggs – it’s one less thing we need to worry about standing in the way of a successful round of IVF and more importantly a baby.