Classic IVF ICSI no extra risk Life as it is happening (film) Strict identification procedure IVF-Witness
This is the essence of IVF: fertilisation (coming together of sperm and egg) does not happen in the fallopian tube (which is the natural situation) but in a laboratory.
- First the semen is 'prepared' in the laboratory: the best, most motile sperm are selected.
- A couple of hours after egg retrieval, the sperm are put with the egg cells and placed in an incubator. The incubator mimics the environment found within a fallopian tube; the same temperature, the same atmosphere.
- A day later, they are examined under the microscope to see whether fertilisation has taken place. If it has, we wait another day to see if the embryos continue to develop.
- If so their quality is determined.
- On day three or five after fertilisation, one or two embryos are transferred to the uterus (see embryo transfer).).
It is possible that the fertilisation or formation of embryos is less successful and that embryo transfer has to be cancelled. In this case, an appointment with the CRG doctor will be arranged as soon as possible to discuss what went wrong. The doctor will explain what went wrong and what we can do to avoid this from happening again at the next attempt.
In 'classic' IVF, fertilisation occurs in the lab by putting the woman's eggs with a man's sperm in a culture dish.
- If successful, one or more embryos will develop.
- Although fresh sperm is preferred for IVF, this method can also be performed using frozen (and thawed) sperm from ejaculate (not from a procedure).
When using donor sperm, this is the only way of performing the procedure.
Since the nineties, a new technique has been available to fertilise eggs: ICSI (pronounced 'iksi') or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
This technique was developed at the CRG of UZ Brussel and since then has been successfully applied worldwide
ICSI is particularly useful for couples where the man is less fertile. If his ejaculate contains too few useable sperm for the classic IVF method, then ICSI can be applied. But even if the IVF method doesn't work, ICSI can be used next time, possibly performing both methods on an equal numbers of eggs. Injection of a sperm in an egg
- Firstly, a suitable sperm is selected under the microscope.
- This is sucked up with an ultra-thin glass pipette and injected directly into the centre of the egg.
- The pipette penetrates the egg and the sperm is released. Fertilisation takes place mechanically and only one sperm is required.
ICSI is a delicate but effective technique.
No extra risk
- Of all the eggs collected at egg retrieval after hormonal stimulation, 80% are generally mature enough to be fertilised this way.
- 10% of the ripe eggs are lost with ICSI.
- Of the eggs that survive the procedure, 70% will develop into embryos.
- Result: approximately 50% of the eggs retrieved following hormonal stimulation can be used for embryo transfer or freezing following ICSI.
The chances of embryo implantation, i.e. the chances that the woman will be pregnant is just as high as with classic IVF.
Of the 90 percent of eggs which survive and are fertilised, are any eggs damaged by ICSI? There is nothing to suggest this. The abnormalities in ICSI children are as high, or rather, as low as in IVF children.
Moreover, a ripe egg is a largely empty structure: the nucleus containing the chromosomes, is located right on the edge. The chance of damage is therefore small.
Life as it is happening
Strict identification procedure
An IVF laboratory has an important social function. The quality of our products and services require high demands. And rightly so, if you consider that mistakes would have huge consequences.
The CRG has an ISO-15189 accreditation, an international quality label for healthcare laboratories that establishes strict requirements for the treatment and identification of eggs, sperm and embryos.
Read more about the quality procedures
at the CRG..IVF Witness
Reliability is of course a top priority. Both for the fertilisation in the laboratory and the later embryo transfer (possibly with thawed embryos), strict identification procedures are applied. The CRG also uses an automated registration system that identifies patients and dishes with sperm, eggs and embryos during the IVF process.
- When you start treatment, a personal identification card is created for you with a unique electronic reference.
- That reference is put on special microchip labels and attached to all dishes and test tubes to store your sperm, eggs and embryos.
- At the time of egg retrieval the electronic system ensures they are collected in the right culture dishes.
- The dishes are automatically recognised in the laboratory and linked to your partner's sperm. Now the eggs can be fertilised.
- When you return to have one (or several) embryo(s) transferred, the system automatically ensures your fertilised embryos are used.
With this system the CRG takes all the necessary precautions to carefully monitor your sperm cells, eggs and embryos during the entire ART process.