The ESHRE Campus: Top quality in micromanipulation dedicated to embryo biopsy and ICSI procedure was held in Ghent in May 2019. The training course was designed by ESHRE (European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology).
We asked Tatiana Troshina, the Head of Life Line embryology laboratory and Biological Science Candidate, to share her impressions.
IVF and ICSI in the future
American specialist Denni Sakkas invited the participants to look to the future: ‘One day the work of embryologists will become much easier than now. You take oocytes, take sperm and place them into a special device. In a few days, you receive embryos, which in addition have already been frozen.’ To tell the truth, robotization of in vitro fertilization process is the long-term future.
ICSI is already conducted in mice by robots. A special device that takes sperm and injects it into an egg has already been designed and tested. It takes one minute for the robot to inject 20 eggs. Yet, this technology cannot be implemented in human gamete cells: the issue is that eggs differ a lot from one another.
How safe is ICSI for babies?
Since the introduction of ICSI procedure at the beginning of the 90s, over 5 million babies have been brought to life. How the procedure of intracytoplasmic sperm injection of an egg influences human health? This is not an idle problem as the ICSI procedure presupposes a more serious intervention in the natural course of events than an IVF cycle.
The results of extensive research on the issue were presented to the embryologists and reproductologists gathered in Ghent by Greta Verheyen from the Brussels University Hospital.
Belgian researchers tested the health condition of 127 young people born in the 90s after implementation of the ICSI procedure. Most of the health parameters of ICSI babies are appeared to be comparable to those of a control group (it consisted of young men and women who were conceived spontaneously). The only exception is the results of spermogram. This parameter in young men conceived via ICSI procedure is lower than in the control group.
Notably, spermogram abnormalities in the young men did not correlate with the ones that suffered their fathers. For instance, the father possesses 3 million high motility sperms whereas his son has 5 or 10 million, which is still lower than the average rate. That is why we cannot really blame heredity.
In order to find the explanation for a diminished spermogram parameter in ICSI children, some additional examination is needed to be conducted.
In any case, the results of the project presented in Gent is another prove that the ICSI procedure should only be performed on the doctor's advice, so not to just increase the chances for the pregnancy of any given couple. It is this kind of treatment that specialists of Life Line Reproductive care center follow.