Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) was first introduced into assisted conception technology in 1992 and has revolutionized the treatment of severe male infertility.

ICSI is a technique whereby one individual sperm is picked in a tiny needle, which is many times finer than a human hair.

What is ICSI?

ICSI is a form of fertility treatment for couples who are struggling to conceive naturally. ICSI is the most successful and most common treatment for male fertility issues and has revolutionised the treatment of severe male infertility.

ICSI is performed as part of IVF. It involves the sperm being directly injected into the egg in a laboratory before the fertilised egg is transplanted into the uterus.

Advantages of ICSI

ICSI is an effective form of fertility treatment for men who suffer from infertility. It offers you and your partner a chance to have a baby, even if the male has an extremely low sperm count. ICSI only needs one sperm to be able to fertilise an egg. So for men with an extremely low sperm count or problems with the sperm itself, embryologists are able to examine the semen and select the strongest, healthiest looking sperm.

After the sperm has been injected into the egg, the fertilised eggs are observed to see if they become embryos. The healthiest looking embryos can then be selected for implantation or freezing for use later. A maximum of two embryos may be implanted at any one time to reduce the chances of multiple pregnancies which increase risks.

Is ICSI for me?

ICSI is suitable for couples trying to conceive where the male has a very low sperm count, or where the sperm are abnormally shaped or have poor motility (don’t move properly). It is also suitable for couples who need sperm retrieving surgically from the testicles, for example, if the male has had a vasectomy or blockage that prevents sperm from reaching ejaculate.

ICSI is also used when couples undergo embryo testing for genetic conditions, for example, if they already have a child who has been found to have a genetic condition.

Success rates of ICSI

According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HEFA), the chances of success are dependent on a number of factors. The fertilisation rate when using ICSI is high, as the sperm is injected directly into the egg. However, for a pregnancy to be successful, the egg needs to be transferred into the uterus where it needs to attach and grow. If the woman has no fertility issues, the chances of success tend to be higher. As a guide, the success rates are 44% for women aged 18-34, 39% for women aged 35-37, 30% for women aged 38 or 39, reducing to 2% for women aged 45 or over.

For more information on ICSI, speak to us at FertilityOne2One today.