INTRA-CYTOPLASMIC SPERM INJECTION (ICSI)
ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is a relatively new technique which has been embraced as a breakthrough in treating male infertility. Because only one sperm is needed, which is injected directly into the egg, ICSI can offer real hope to couples where the man has a very low sperm count or produces few good-quality sperm. ICSI can also help couples who would prefer not to use donor sperm.
How it’s done
Using micromanipulation technology, ICSI allows fertility specialists to fertilize an egg using just one sperm. While it is preferred to use sperm from a semen sample, specialists can retrieve sperm from the testicles if it is necessary. Once sperm has been collected, the specialist will draw a single sperm into a needle and inject it directly into an egg that has been collected from the female partner through the usual retrieval methods. This process bypasses the conventional IVF methods of fertilization, thereby ensuring that fertilization has taken place. The fertilized eggs are then left to culture for a few days before being transferred back to the woman’s uterus. ICSI is always used alongside IVF
Who is Suited to ICSI?
Couples that are infertile due to any of the following reasons may want to consider using ICSI with their IVF treatment.
- Low sperm count
- Poor sperm motility
- Abnormally high amount of morphologically abnormal sperm
- Experienced fertilization failure for unknown reasons in a previous IVF cycle
- Lack of any sperm in ejaculate due to failed vasectomy reversal, failure to produce sperm, or an obstruction in the epididymus due to past inflammation
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Immunological factors
Additionally, men who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer may choose to freeze a semen sample before undergoing treatment as this can later be used in ICSI.