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. 2018 Sep;15(9):535-562.
doi: 10.1038/s41585-018-0051-8.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection for Male Infertility and Consequences for Offspring


Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection for Male Infertility and Consequences for Offspring

Sandro C Esteves et al. Nat Rev Urol. .


Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has become the most commonly used method of fertilization in assisted reproductive technology. The primary reasons for its popularity stem from its effectiveness, the standardization of the procedure, which means that it can easily be incorporated into the routine practice of fertility centres worldwide, and the fact that it can be used to treat virtually all forms of infertility. ICSI is the clear method of choice for overcoming untreatable severe male factor infertility, but its (over)use in other male and non-male factor infertility scenarios is not evidence-based. Despite all efforts to increase ICSI efficacy and safety through the application of advanced sperm retrieval and cryopreservation techniques, as well as methods for selecting sperm with better chromatin integrity, the overall pregnancy rates from infertile men remain suboptimal. Treating the underlying male infertility factor before ICSI seems to be a promising way to improve ICSI outcomes, but data remain limited. Information regarding the health of ICSI offspring has accumulated over the past 25 years, and there are reasons for concern as risks of congenital malformations, epigenetic disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, subfertility, cancer, delayed psychological and neurological development, and impaired cardiometabolic profile have been observed to be greater in infants born as a result of ICSI than in naturally conceived children. However, as subfertility probably influences the risk estimates, it remains to be determined to what extent the observed adverse outcomes are related to parental factors or associated with ICSI.

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