Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF) and involves the insertion of a single sperm directly into an egg.

ICSI is most often used for infertile couples with moderate to severe male factor infertility, infertility due to unexplained causes, failed fertilization, and other causes.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection: How it Works

During the IVF process, eggs from the female are retrieved and prepared for fertilization. If the male has sufficient sperm of good quality, he provides the sample by masturbation and the eggs and sperm are combined in a Petri dish.

However, if the sperm are inadequate, egg penetration and fertilization may not occur on its own and ICSI becomes necessary.

In ICSI, a single sperm is identified in the ejaculate and collected in a microscopic pipette. A micromanipulator is used to secure the egg while a small hole is punctured in the outer membrane. The sperm is then inserted ensuring “mixing” of the parent’s genetic material.

Sometimes there is no sperm in the ejaculate due to conditions such as anatomical blockage. Techniques have been developed that allow the specialist to withdrawn sperm directly from the reproductive tract.

Once the sperm is inserted into the egg, the resultant embryo is transferred to an incubator where it develops for 3 to 5 days. The embryo is transferred to the uterus once it reaches maturity.

ICSI is a very delicate procedure and requires manual dexterity, coordination, and extensive training. Our embryologist, David Wininger, PhD, has years of successful clinical experience and consistently produces high fertilization rates.