Experience says ICSI is safe

March 1, 2004

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) appears to be a safe alternative for couples otherwise unable to conceive, according to a review of the observational research.

In analyzing available studies from around the world involving thousands of ICSI pregnancies and births, investigators found no indications of increased rates of prematurity or perinatal mortality in ICSI pregnancies compared with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancies. They noted that while some studies suggest a higher incidence of low birthweight, the difference does not seem to be clinically significant. They concluded that while an increased rate of sex-chromosome abnormalities in offspring from ICSI pregnancies may exist, the procedure does not seem to increase the incidence of congenital malformations. Nor is there any evidence that the procedure has any effect on a child's psychomotor development.

The findings increase in importance as the procedure becomes more common. While in the past it was reserved for cases of severe male-factor infertility, its indications have expanded to include multiple failed IVF cycles, poor fertilization, and many others.

Retzloff MG, Hornstein MD. Is intracytoplasmic sperm injection safe? Fertil Steril. 2003;80:851-859.