High-Powered Microscope Helps Identify Healthier Sperm for IVF Through IMSI

January 2014

CINCINNATI, OH – The Bethesda Fertility Center has become one of only a few centers in the country and the first in the Tristate to offer IMSI (intracytoplasmic morphologically-selected sperm injection). The technique vastly improves the selection of normally-shaped sperm (normal morphology) for higher pregnancy rates and reduced miscarriage rates and is most appropriate for couples with severe male infertility.

IMSI is an improvement of ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), which inserts a single sperm directly inside an egg. But instead of magnifying an individual sperm by 400 times to select the best sperm, IMSI features a specially-configured, high-powered microscope that achieves magnification of greater than 6000 times. This allows the embryologist to look at sperm in greater detail to detect subtle structural damage/alterations that a normal ICSI procedure microscope cannot detect.

Shape, texture and movement are all important factors in sperm selection. The shape of the sperm (morphology) is important in diagnosing male fertility problems and in predicting fertilization and pregnancy outcomes. With IMSI, the embryologist can select sperm to more stringently match healthy sperm criteria.

This advanced technique is significant for couples with severe male infertility and repeated unsuccessful IVF attempts since studies have shown increased genetic abnormalities (DNA fragmentation) in the sperm and embryos of this population.

Patient criteria best suited for IMSI include:

  • Failed fertilization cycle
  • At least 2 failed IVF or ICSI cycles
  • History of miscarriages
  • Male partner of advanced age
  • High DNA fragmentation index
  • High incidence of genetically abnormal embryos 

The Bethesda Fertility Center has followed studies on this technology for many years, according to Pradeep Warikoo, PhD, HCLD, director for the center’s IVF/Reproductive Studies Lab. “Multiple studies focusing on male infertility show that the IMSI technique yields higher quality sperm and results in higher pregnancy rates and lower miscarriage rates compared to conventional ICSI,” he explains. “We are proud to be Greater Cincinnati’s only center to offer IMSI to our community.”
For more information contact the Bethesda Fertility Center at 513-865-1675 or 800-634-1222.