Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is used to enhance the fertilization phase of in vitro fertilization (IVF) by injecting a single sperm into a mature egg. Rather than simply mixing the sperm and egg together, ICSI ensures that the sperm successfully penetrates the egg and embryonic growth can begin. ICSI is used to treat male infertility when poor quality sperm is ejaculated in the semen.

Following standard IVF ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval, sperm is collected from the male partner via masturbation or in some situiations, acquired surgically from the male reproductive tract (testicle). Once in the lab, a glass pipet is used to hold the egg in place and an injection pipet is used to inject one sperm into the egg. This is all done under high-powered microscopes.  The egg is then monitored for fertilization and embryo development, and embryos are subsequently transferred at 3 to 5 days of development.

Some couples choose to try ICSI after a prior in vitro fertilization cycle has been unsuccessful. Used with IVF and high quality eggs, ICSI is a safe and effective treatment for men with impaired or no sperm in the ejaculate. ICSI usually does not improve IVF outcomes when there is no diagnosis of male infertility.