How safe is ICSI?
ICSI carries slightly more risks than some other fertility treatments, including:
- an increased risk of miscarriage because sperm is used that may not otherwise have been able to fertilise an egg
- a risk that eggs may be damaged when they’re cleaned and injected with sperm.
It has been suggested that the use of ICSI may also be associated with long-term health issues for the children born. However, we cannot prove this either way until we have more conclusive evidence.
Risks that may be associated with ICSI include:
- certain genetic and developmental defects in a very small number of children born using this treatment; however, problems that have been linked with ICSI may have been caused by the underlying infertility, rather than the treatment itself
- the possibility that a boy conceived as a result of ICSI may inherit his father’s infertility (it is too early to know if this is the case, as the oldest boys born from ICSI are still in their teens).
In some cases, a low sperm count can be caused by a genetic condition like cystic fibrosis or other chromosome problems. If you think this might apply to you, you may want to consider having genetic testing first to avoid the low sperm count being passed onto a male child. You’ll probably want to discuss the full implications of taking these tests with your clinic’s counsellor before going ahead.
There are also all the usual risks that come with IVF treatment.