Sperm Injection

What is ICSI?

  • ICSI is an acronym for intracytoplasmic sperm injection
    • A fancy way of saying "inject sperm into egg"

  • ICSI is a very effective method to fertilize eggs in the IVF lab after they have been aspirated from the female

  • Its main use is for significant male infertility cases IVF with ICSI involves the use of specialized micromanipulation tools and equipment and inverted microscopes that enable embryologists to select and pick up individual sperm in a specially designed ICSI needle. The needle is carefully advanced through the outer shell of the egg and the egg membrane - and the sperm is injected into the inner part (cytoplasm) of the egg. This usually results in normal fertilization in about 75- 85% of eggs injected with sperm. However, first the woman must be stimulated with medications and have an egg retrieval procedure so we can obtain several eggs for in vitro fertilization and ICSI.

Who should be treated with intracytoplasmic sperm injection?

There is no "standard of care" in this field of medicine regarding which cases should have the ICSI procedure and which should not.

Some clinics use it only for severe male factor infertility, and some use it on every case. The large majority of IVF clinics are somewhere in the middle of these 2 extremes.

Our thinking about ICSI has changed over time, and we are now doing more ICSI (as a percentage of total cases) than we were 10-12 years ago. As we learn more about methods to help couples conceive, our thinking will continue to evolve.

How is ICSI performed?

The ICSI process differs from IVF only in the Laboratory. All the steps for the patient from the time of using hormonal injections to stimulate the production of multiple eggs till the embryo transfer remain the same for the patient. However in the Lab, the oocytes are subjected to ICSI instead of just leaving the sperms surrounding the egg and waiting for fertilization as happens in IVF.

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