IMSI and PICSI are tools used in addition to ICSI which allows our embryologists to select sperm with low levels of DNA fragmentation that are potentially more likely to lead to normal embryo development.
IMSI uses a much higher magnification that allows the embryologist to see minor defects in sperm appearance and the presence of vacuoles within the sperm heads. Vacuoles are structures that indicate high levels of sperm DNA fragmentation. IMSI can be used to select sperm with an absence of large vacuoles. These sperm are more likely to contain low levels of DNA fragmentation, potentially leading to improved embryo development.
PICSI is a method that enables us to select mature sperm for injection by their ability to bind to hyaluronic acid (HA) which is a marker for sperm maturity. Men with poorer sperm samples often have a greater degree of immature sperm. These can still show normal motility and morphology, but they may still have higher levels of damaged DNA.
Please note that IMSI & PICSI are used in addition to ICSI but are not suitable for all sperm samples. These techniques may not be suitable if there is a limited number of sperm available for selection, such as low sperm count or surgically retrieved sperm.