Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

ICSI is possible even for patients who have very poor numbers of sperm in the ejaculate and for men who have no sperm in the ejaculate, for example post vasectomy, sperm collected from the testes can be used for ICSI.

With this technique, the Embryologist uses a fine glass needle, specially designed, to inject one sperm into each egg, in order to assist the fertilization process.

Egg collection and embryo transfer is carried out in the same way as is performed in IVF cycles.

The chance of pregnancy is the same as with IVF, which is dependent on the number and quality of embryos.

Follow up studies on children born from IVF, ICSI and natural conception show no difference in the risk of miscarriage or congenital malformations.

ICSI can be performed for men who have very few numbers of sperm in their semen, too few for IVF.

  • It can be performed for those men whose sperm have minimal activity which would be too slow for IVF
  • There is usually a higher fertilisation rate, therefore, couples have a higher number of embryos to transfer, than would be the case with IVF
  • There can be a reduction in the number of eggs fertilised by more than one sperm
  • There is the option of using the male partner's sperm instead of donor sperm.
  • Those clients for whom IVF has not succeeded due to poor or no fertilisation of eggs.
  • Men whose semen contains very low numbers of sperm which are sluggish, and with poor motility where enough active sperm are not available for IVF.
  • Men who have an obstruction of the vas deferens (the tube that leads from the testicle to the base of the penis). The vas may be obstructed by infection, or previous vasectomy, or in some cases, men are born without a vas. Sperm can be surgically removed from the epididymis (the area on top of the testes where sperm are maturing), or directly from the testicle.

Although sperm can be obtained from these areas, numbers are usually very low and may exhibit poor motility, therefore ICSI is used to increase the possibility of fertilising an egg.