Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is the process where sperm is injected directly into an egg to fertilize it.

In natural conception and traditional IVF, sperm swim to the egg, attach to the egg’s shell, and push through the shell to get inside the egg. The inside of the egg is called the cytoplasm. Once inside, the sperm’s DNA mixes with the female’s DNA to create an embryo. This is the process of fertilization. In some cases, the sperm cannot penetrate the egg’s shell, so ICSI is required to help the sperm get into the egg.

When to Consider ICSI?

ICSI is recommended if

  • The man has low sperm count or many abnormally shaped sperm
  • The sperm needs to be taken directly from the testicles
  • Unexplained infertility. In couples with unexplained infertility the explanation may lie in the sperm’s inability to fertilize an egg
  • Previous traditional IVF treatments have yielded a low fertilization rate

How successful is ICSI?

ICSI is successful in fertilizing 80% of eggs.

What are the risks of ICSI?

If a woman gets pregnant naturally, there is a 3% chance that the baby will have a birth defect. The chance of birth defects after ICSI are rare.

Certain conditions that have been associated with the use of ICSI (Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Angelman syndrome, hypospadias, or sex chromosome abnormalities) are thought to occur in far less than 1% of children conceived using this technique. So, we consider ICSI very safe.