An infertility treatment may be risky and lead to abnormal fetal development, a Dutch medical authority has warned. The Health Council of the Netherlands has called for tighter regulations on the technique known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (I

The council is concerned that the technique was introduced without being first properly tested.

Since it was first successfully tried in Brussels in 1993, around 80,000 couples around the world have been treated, resulting in pregnancy in around a quarter of all cases. The technique involves injecting sperm directly into the ovum, and is for couples where the man is infertile.

The Dutch group is particularly concerned about two types of the technique microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) and testicular sperm extraction (TESE) where the sperm is removed surgically by a doctor. They fear the sperm may not be fully mature, so increasing the risk of fetal abnormalities (BMJ, 1996; 313: 248).

The French government has given permission to 50 specialist centres to begin ICSI treatment.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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