Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI is an established technique to help improve fertilization of the egg during an IVF procedure.
During ICSI, our embryologist injects a single sperm into a mature egg.
Using a fine needle with a tip only slightly larger than the size of the sperm head, our embryologist gently pushes the needle through the egg's shell and into the cytoplasm in the center. After depositing the sperm, the needle is then carefully removed.
The egg with the sperm is placed in culture medium where it continues the fertilization process and subsequent embryonic growth.
Our embryologists observe the growth of the embryo over the course of five days in culture. The healthiest embryos will be selected for the embryo transfer or can be frozen for future use.
Why is ICSI Used?
For an egg to be fertilized, the head of the sperm must attach to the outside of the egg and migrate into the egg's cytoplasm. When sperm are unable to penetrate the egg, ICSI may be used to assist with the fertilization.
There are several reasons why your infertility specialist may recommend ICSI as part of your IVF cycle, including:
- Male partner has a low sperm count or a high percentage of incorrectly shaped sperm
- Male partner has low sperm motility or high rates of sperm DNA fragmentation
- A prior IVF cycle using conventional fertilization failed
- Sperm are obtained through surgical means, including epididymal aspiration or testicular biopsy
The Success Rates for ICSI
The fertilization rates with ICSI are similar to those of eggs inseminated with conventional IVF (about 75 percent). However, the use of ICSI does not guarantee that the egg will develop into an embryo, or that the embryo will continue growing once it has started. During the ICSI process, there is also a small risk that some eggs may be damaged.