Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an assisted fertilization technique in which a single sperm is injected into a mature egg. ICSI was initially used to help male patients with severe infertility achieve fertilization, and is now routinely used to ensure fertilization in many other patient populations undergoing fertility treatments.
On the day of egg retrieval, semen is collected from the male partner via masturbation and live sperm are isolated and washed in preparation for ICSI. Sperm may also be collected from frozen semen or in some situations, acquired surgically from the male reproductive tract. Processed, live sperm cells are identified under high power microscopy. With the use of specialized micromanipulation tools attached to the microscope an individual, high quality sperm may be picked up in an injection pipet (approximately 1/3 the diameter of a human hair) and injected into the mature egg which is held in place with a microscopic holding pipet.
ICSI was first reported in 1992 and is a routine and safe technique used in most IVF programs today.