Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
- Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): The embryologist selects a single best looking healthy sperm and injects it directly into the center of each egg. The ICSI technique is used to fertilize mature eggs with the best looking sperm. Under the microscope, the embryologist picks up a single sperm, the best looking one and injects it directly into the cytoplasm of the egg using a small glass needle called a micropipette.
ICSI is used in cases when the quantity or quality of sperm is poor and therefore unable to effectively penetrate the egg on its own. Since fertilization only requires one healthy sperm, ICSI has become one of the most incredible advances in treating severe male factor infertility.
ICSI allows even couples with very low sperm counts or poor quality sperm to achieve high fertilization and pregnancy rates.
It is also recommended for couples who have not achieved fertilization in prior IVF attempts.
Usually in the traditional way, before a man’s sperm can fertilize a woman’s egg, the head of the sperm must attach to the outside of the egg. Once attached, the sperm pushes through the outer layer to the inside of the egg (cytoplasm), where fertilization takes place.
Sometimes the sperm cannot penetrate the outer layer, for a variety of reasons. The egg’s outer layer may be thick or hard to penetrate or the sperm may be unable to swim. In these cases intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be done along with in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help fertilize the egg.
Who needs ICSI?
ICSI helps to overcome fertility problems, such as:
- The male partner produces too few sperm to do artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination IUI) or conventional IVF.
- The sperm does not move in a normal way.
- The sperm may have trouble attaching to the egg.
- A blockage in the male reproductive tract that may keep sperm from getting out.
- Eggs were not fertilized by traditional IVF, even if the sperm is in good condition.
- In vitro matured (IVM) eggs are being used.
- Frozen eggs are being used.