What is ICSI?
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI – pronounced ick-see) is an IVF procedure, where a single sperm cell is injected directly into the cytoplasm of the egg, reducing the dependence on the strength and motility of the sperm. Nearly half of all IVF treatments involve ICSI, for it is the most successful treatment for male infertility. ICSI increases the chance of pregnancy because it maximizes the chance of fertilization by bypassing any issues with the sperm’s ability to reach the egg.
The Process of ICSI Treatment
Step 1: Extraction
A sperm sample is taken from the man’s semen or is extracted from his testes if he has trouble ejaculating with sperm. Motile sperm are selected, prepared, and washed for insemination. Additionally, the woman’s eggs are surgically extracted from her ovaries. Mature eggs are chosen for injection.
Step 2: Insemination
Using a thin, hollow needle, the selected sperm cell is carefully injected into the cytoplasm of the chosen egg.
Step 3: Fertilization and Embryo Transfer
The dish is placed in an incubator to allow for fertilization. After fertilization has taken place, the embryo is then transferred into the uterus or frozen for future implantation.
When to consider ICSI?
- Male patients with a low or zero sperm count.
- Male patients with a high percentage of abnormally shaped sperm. This can result in poor sperm motility.
- Sperm that can’t be ejaculated but can be collected from the testicles or from the epididymis where sperm is stored. This may be due to an irreversible vasectomy or injury.
- Sperm can’t get to the egg at all.
- Sperm can get to the egg, but for some reason can’t fertilize it
- Inability to get an erection and ejaculation, due to spinal cord injuries, diabetes, or other health conditions.