Explaining ICSI

Fertility Specialist Kristin Bendikson, MD, explains the process of ICSI and how, despite concerns, it does not lead to an increased risk in congenial anomalies
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
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Explaining ICSI

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI is a procedure used with IVF where a sperm is directly injected into the egg. It's used in situations where there's a very few amount of sperm in the ejaculate to choose from or sometimes when there's very few number of eggs and we want to improve fertilization rates. Some people are concerned about ICSI because they feel like it might be interfering with the natural selection. You have to understand that in the ejaculate there's millions of sperm and even though many of them might not be moving or they might have an abnormal shape, there's still millions that are completely normal and have the ability to fertilize an egg. And so any one of those sperm could lead to a healthy pregnancy. With ICSI, an embryologist is actually looking in a microscope at the sperm and they're choosing the sperm that are moving normally and have a normal shape and ones that they think will have the best chance of fertilizing the egg. In fact, with ICSI, we don't think there's any long-term ramification to the children. There doesn't seem to be an increased risk in congenial anomalies. There is a slight risk in something called a sex chromosome abnormality, which is an abnormality within the sex chromosomes. The rate of those is very low, it's about 0.2% of the general population, with ICSI it's about 0.8%. And it's really thought the sex chromosome abnormalities are more common in men who have very low sperm count, so it's something that it's been genetically passed onto the children and isn't being caused by the ICSI procedure itself.

Fertility Specialist Kristin Bendikson, MD, explains the process of ICSI and how, despite concerns, it does not lead to an increased risk in congenial anomalies


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Kristin Bendikson, MD

Fertility Specialist

Dr. Kristin A. Bendikson joined USC Fertility after finishing her obstetrics and gynecology residency at Harvard Medical School and completing her subspecialty training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the internationally renowned Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at Cornell University Medical College. During that time, she received intensive training in ovulation induction, in vitro fertilization and fertility surgery, as well as the management of other disorders including recurrent pregnancy loss, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Kristin received her undergraduate degree from UCLA and attended the prestigious New York University School of Medicine. Her extensive training and years in practice have prepared her to deal with the most difficult and challenging cases.

Kristin holds the title of Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the USC Keck School of Medicine. She is the currently the principal investigator of several research projects including the study of zygote intrafallopian tube transfer for women of advanced reproductive age, aging of the uterine endometrium and vitamin D and its role in infertility. It is her goal to provide the highest quality care for her patients and to help them fulfill their desire of having a healthy baby. In addition, she strives to guide her patients through what can be a trying and difficult journey by providing them with the support and personal attention they need.

Fertility expert, teacher, and researcher, Kristin is also a married mother of two. She resides in West Los Angeles with her family.

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