Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
What is Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)?
Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a type of IVF treatment that involves the injection of a single sperm straight into each egg. The fertilised egg (embryo) can then be transferred into the womb of the woman as in a normal IVF cycle.
In conventional IVF the eggs and the sperm are mixed together in a dish and the sperm fertilise the eggs naturally. ICSI is used when sperm are unlikely to fertilise the egg naturally. It bypasses the natural processes involved in a sperm penetrating an egg.
What does ICSI involve?
ICSI is similar to conventional IVF in that eggs and sperm are collected from each partner. To achieve fertilisation, a single sperm is taken up in a fine glass needle and is injected directly into an egg. The eggs are incubated and examined the following day for fertilisation. Embryos may then be transferred back into the womb of the woman two to five days after fertilisation as in conventional IVF.
Not all eggs collected will be of a high enough quality or mature enough to be suitable for injection. Also, some eggs may not survive the injection process.
When is ICSI used?
ICSI may be used in the following cases:
- When the sperm count is very low
- When the sperm cannot move properly
- When the sperm have high rates of abnormality
- When sperm has been retrieved directly from the epididymis (PESA) or the testicles (TESA), from the urine, or by electroejaculation
- When there are high levels of antibodies in the semen
- When fertilisation has failed in previous IVF treatment
- When sperm has been frozen
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Men who have very few sperm (oligospermia) or no sperm (azoospermia) in their semen, or who have high numbers of abnormal sperm that are unable to fertilise an egg, would previously have had little or no chance of fathering their own genetic offspring. ICSI offers such men and their partners real hope of having their own genetic child.
In some cases, a consultant may also recommend a surgical sperm retrieval.
Read more about our patients' experiences with ICSI...
Book an appointment
To find out if ICSI can help you conceive, please contact us or book an appointment at Complete Fertility Centre.