PICSI®, pretesting of sperm for ICSI
In standard ICSI, sperm with normal appearance are arbitrarily selected for injection into the egg. Although ICSI can improve the rate of fertilization in cases of severely low sperm count or motility, it cannot assure that the chosen sperm are functionally competent or carry intact DNA. A sperm can look perfectly normal but may fail to fertilize or have fragmentations in its chromosomes that can lead to formation of an abnormal embryo.
Under natural conditions, sperm must first bind to a protein called hyaluronan on the surface of the egg before it can fertilize the egg. Studies have shown that sperm that bind to hyaluronan tend to be mature sperm and are more likely to contain undamaged DNA.
PICSI is a test that can help select the best sperm for ICSI by mimicking the natural selection process of natural fertilization. In PICSI, sperm are added to a petridish that has a small circle coated by hyaluronan. After a period of incubation, the unbound sperm are washed off to reveal the sperm that adhere to the hyaluronan surface. These bound sperm are then used for ICSI as they are more likely to be mature and functional and contain DNA with normal integrity.
At IVFMD, we employ PICSI technology to choose the optimal sperm for ICSI in cases of severely abnormal sperm morphology and high DNA fragmentation as detected by the Halosperm test.