Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

ICSI is an acronym for intracytoplasmic sperm injection – meaning to inject a single sperm into each oocyte (egg).

ICSI is a very effective method used to fertilize mature oocytes retrieved during an IVF cycle. It is performed in the IVF laboratory and involves the use of specialized micromanipulation tools and equipment, including an inverted microscope.

The mature oocyte is held with a specialized pipette while a very delicate and sharp needle is used to immobilize and pick up a single sperm. The needle is then carefully inserted through the shell (zona) and into the cytoplasm of the oocyte. The sperm is injected into the cytoplasm and the needle is carefully removed. This technique usually results in approximately 70-85% normal fertilization.

Reasons to perform ICSI:

1. Couples with male factor infertility exist when:

  • Low concentration
  • Low motility
  • Poor sperm morphology
  • Irreversible vasectomy / failed vasectomy reversal

2. Couples with severe male factor who do not wish to use donor sperm.

3. Couples with whom sperm must be collected from the testicles by means of a testicular sperm extraction (TESE).

4. Couples planning to utilize pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) on their embryo(s).

5. Couples with previous IVF attempt(s) who had low or no fertilization.

6. Couples with low ovarian reserve when there is either a low number or low quality of oocytes (or both).