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ICSI with donor sperm

ICSI witn donor sperm
ICSI with donor sperm involves the the fertilization of previously extracted eggs (from the patient) with spermatozoa from an anonymous donor.

This technique is used in cases where, for medical reasons (when the male partner of the couple does not have spermatozoa or if they are of poor quality; n cases where there is a risk of transmission of genetic diseases to offspring, and in cases of women without a male partner), it is not possible to perform the treatment with the couple's spermatozoa.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) with donor sperm involves the injection of a single spermatozoon into an oocyte, thus giving rise to an embryo. Oocytes are collected from the ovaries and fertilized with spermatozoa in the laboratory. Once obtained, the embryos are transferred to the woman's uterus to implant and lead to a pregnancy.

Stages of the treatment

  • 1. Ovarian Stimulation and Control

    After the first medical appointment, the woman begins to be treated with ovulation-stimulating drugs, administered by subcutaneous injections. These drugs (similar to hormones that are naturally produced in women) will stimulate the ovaries to produce more oocytes than usual.


    The development of oocytes is then controlled by periodic ultrasound examinations and blood tests (to assess levels of hormones).


    When the doctor considers that the follicles are sufficiently developed, he prescribes the injection of another hormone (human chorionic gonadotropin - hCG), whose role is to trigger the release of the oocytes from the ovarian follicles.


    At this stage timing has a key role: the oocyte pick-up (retrieving oocytes from the ovaries) should be made 35 to 36 hours after the hCG is administered. It is very important that couples respect the timings indicated by the gynaecologist regarding the  administration of the injections as  a mistake at this stagecould jeopardise the whole treatment process.


    At Ferticentro we take special care with this phase of the process - our clinical team is available to patients for 24 hours to ensure that medicines are administered correctly and timely and the patient is kept informed and reassured throughout the whole process.



    2. Sperm sample

    The donor sperm is selected by the Ferticentro medical team based on very strict medical criteria, after a rigorous process of selection and exclusion of genetic diseases and psychological evaluation. The sperm used at Ferticentro comes from donors selected by the clinic, or from certified foreign sperm banks, with excellent and comprehensive  quality control methods. The donor is always anonymous and is referenced by a code. Sperm donation is voluntary, and patients are only charged for the laboratory costs involved in collection, maintenance and treatment. The entire process is carried out with full assurance of confidentiality and with the informed consent of the beneficiary (s) of the treatment.



    3. Oocyte pickup and ICSI

    The oocyte pick-up is carried out under ultrasound monitoring and involves the introduction into the vagina of a very fine needle that will allow the collection of oocytes from each of the ovaries. This operation is performed under sedation and takes about 15 minutes. From the day of the egg retrieval, the woman starts taking 2 tablets of progesterone every 8 hours, in order to prepare the endometrium for a successful embryo implantation.


    After pickup the oocytes are transferred to a culture medium in the laboratory and then treated and microinjected with one sperm per egg.  After this process, the oocytes are transferred once again to another medium to encourage the formation of embryos.



    4.  Embryo Transfer

    On the Embryo transfer day (two to five days after fertilization) the embryos (usually two) are transferred into the womb of the womanfor implantation.


    In cases where there are several good quality embryos to transfer or when it is necessary to undertake further analysis embryo transfer may be made on the fifth day. At Ferticentro this extended embryo culture has no additional costs for the couple, since it is based on a technical decision made in the interests of the individual patient.


    It is recommended to avoid intense physical activity for five days following the  embryo transfer. Women can travel by car or plane after transfer, but should avoid any physical activity such as lifting. This type of precaution is advised in the interest of best practice rather than based on any scientific evidence – we encourage all our patients to take some time out to encourage nature to do its work.



    4. Embryo Cryopreservation

    Any viable surplus embryos that are not used in fresh treatment can be frozen and used later in a subsequent embryo transfer  (either because the couple wants to have a second child, or if the first attempt fails); can be donated for scientific research;  be donated to another couple or may be destroyed depending on the couple's decision and the conditions laid down by law.

When is ICSI with donor sperm recommended?

ICSI with sperm donation is advised in the following cases:
  • Azoospermia (absence of spermatozoa in the ejaculate)
  • Severe conditions of poor sperm quality
  • Risk of transmission of diseases to offspring
  • Women without a male partner

Treatment cost

  • To find out more about treatment costs, please fill our contact form.

Additional information

  • During treatments performed at Ferticentro patients are closely monitored by the attending physician (who will always be contacted via mobile phone) and all procedures are performed according to the most stringent international safety standards. It is important however that patients are aware of the possibility  of less pleasant situations which, although rare, are also part of the practice of medicine. Adverse reactions to medications used in ICSI cycles are not very common, and when they appear they are usually mild and transient. The most common are heat, irritability, tiredness and headaches. Usually, they pass quickly and do not cause alarm. In case of aggravation or persistence of symptoms, we recommend that you contact the Ferticentro doctor who accompanies your treatment.

    In some rare cases (less than 1% ) Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome may occur, which is an excessive and potentially dangerous reaction to the medications used in ovarian stimulation. In these situations, there is an accumulation of fluids and formation of cysts in the ovaries. The main symptoms are: pelvic and / or abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath. This is a serious reaction, which should be immediately reported to the attending physician. In more severe cases it can lead to interruption of treatment or to hospital stay. If Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome occurs after oocyte collection, the embryos are not transferred and frozen so that they can be used later.

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