Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

What and who is it for?

ICSI is an alternative way of achieving fertilisation to IVF. It is offered to patients with a male factor sub fertility diagnosis or to those who have had previous poor or failed fertilisation with IVF. It can be used to overcome issues of sperm quantity or quality, and egg and sperm binding.

How does it work?

Within ICSI, an individual sperm is identified under the microscope and directly injected into an egg by the embryologist.

When eggs are collected, they are surrounded by a cloud of cells (cumulus cells) which help to nourish and mature the egg. These cells are removed before the ICSI process to aid in visualisation of the egg and assessment of maturity. As only mature eggs can be injected, there may be fewer eggs available for treatment than in IVF.

After fertilisation, the next stages are the same as within IVF treatment, where embryos will be cultured in the laboratory and transferred into the patient’s uterus.

What are the features and benefits?

ICSI can help patients with reduced semen parameters have biological children, where this was not possible before. It can also be used to achieve fertilisation in cases where previous IVF has been unsuccessful.

Success rates and statistics

Fertilisation rates following ICSI may be higher than IVF, as the sperm is placed directly inside the egg, however, pregnancy and live birth rates do not differ between the two.

Further information

The need for ICSI is determined by having a semen sample analysed under the microscope or by the results of previous IVF treatment you may have had. Please contact us if you have any queries regarding this treatment.