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IMSI stands for Intracytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection. It is a method to improve success rates in Male Infertility. It includes the choice of the right spermatozoa after testing the sperm morphology. This ensures that the egg can be fertilized by a viable sperm so that fertilization can occur positively. The sperm that is finally chosen in this procedure is utilized for micro-manipulative fertilization of the oocyte.
On the other hand, PICSI stands for Physiological Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection. Physiological intracytoplasmic sperm injection (PICSI) is a technique used to select sperm to use in Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment. It involves placing sperm with hyaluronic acid (HA), a natural compound found in the body. PICSI identifies sperm that can bind to HA and these sperm are selected for use in treatment.
When male patients tend to have a greater percentage of abnormal sperm and have encountered several poor outcomes in prior IVF procedure with ICSI, then doctors suggest IMSI. This is because it is a much-enhanced selection tool and can improve the chances of fertilization and also allow normal embryo development.
The doctors recommend IMSI procedure for male patients with the following issues:
When the person has a very low sperm count
When the percentage of abnormally shaped sperm is quite high
When the patient has had several failures with previous ICSI treatments
The development of the embryo from the previous IVF treatments was very poor
There were several instances of miscarriages in the past
The scientists perform a digital high magnification on the sperm so that the sperms are magnified to 6000 times their original size. This helps the doctors to identify the abnormalities in the sperm. They can now eliminate such sperms so that they are not used to fertilize the egg.
The normal sperms that are identified using this procedure are then used in the ICSI procedure to complete the process of fertilization.
In this procedure the sperms are put in a dish containing hyaluronan hydrogel. Hyaluronan is a biopolymer that is found in human cells and also in the layer surrounding the oocyte in humans. Now the function of this biopolymer is that when the sperms are placed in them, the ones that are mature and viable attach to the hyaluronan. Hence the Embryologist can easily isolate the best sperm cells before the ICSI.
This entire process mimics a process that naturally occurs in the human body, that is, the process where a mature sperm binds to an oocyte. Thus, the sperm that is selected by the Embryologist is the one that would have been selected in a natural fertilization process as well.
Both IMSI & PICSI procedures are used in Male Infertility and have led to higher success rates in pregnancy.