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expert reaction to abstract on icsi compared with conventional ivf in routine non-male infertility cases

Research presented in an abstract at the 35th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) shows that intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) offers no benefit over conventional in vitro fertilisation in fertility treatments without a male factor indication.


Prof Ying Cheong, Professor of Reproductive Medicine and Honorary Consultant in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, University of Southampton, said:

“It is high time clinicians behave in a responsible manner in the context of applying ICSI on ‘everyone’. Time and time again, studies have shown that ‘ICSI for all’ does not lead to better clinical outcome but these findings have fallen on deaf ears.”


Prof Allan Pacey, Professor of Andrology, University of Sheffield, said:

“This is an interesting study which echoes an increasing number of other studies published over the last few years showing that when there is no male factor (sperm problem) infertility that the technological procedure of Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) offers no benefit and indeed may lead to a poorer outcome. This is important because many clinics round the world, and some in the UK, have chosen to use ICSI as the preferred method of achieving fertilisation during IVF and they treat all their patients this way regardless of diagnosis. There are probably many reasons for this, including the perception that it’s a “better” more sophisticated form of treatment and this has probably been fuelled by an element of media hype over the years. However, we should really follow the principles of “do no harm” and I think the evidence is now mounting that, whilst ICSI is a great technique, it should only be used for those cases of male factor infertility that it was originally designed to help.”


ICSI does not offer any benefit over conventional IVF across different ovarian response categories: a European multicentre anaylsis’ by Panangiotis Drakapoulos et al. was presented at the 35th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) on Wednesday 26 June. 


Declared interests

Prof Ying Cheong: No conflicts of interest

None others received.

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