ICSI is a laboratory technique performed as part of IVF treatment where each mature egg collected during the egg collection procedure is injected with a single sperm. This technique increases fertilisation rate when patients have issues with sperm quality.
ICSI is recommended in cases where there are male factor fertility issues such as low sperm count, low motility or poor morphology.
What is the ICSI Process?
The stages of ICSI treatment, from the patient’s point of view, are the same as IVF treatment. The difference is in the laboratory. For ICSI treatment, following the egg collection, the embryologist will inject a single moving sperm into each mature egg using a fine glass needle. Once the procedure is complete, the eggs are monitored over a 24-hour period to check if fertilisation occurs.
Once fertilisation is achieved, the embryos are incubated in a high-quality culture medium. The embryologist will select the preferred embryo for transfer and if surplus embryos are of suitable quality, they can be frozen for future use.
How Do I Know if ICSI Treatment is Right For Me?
ICSI is carried out when semen quality is poor or has been surgically retrieved. Issues may include:
- Number: Low sperm count (oligozoospermia)
- Movement: Low sperm motility (asthenozoospermia)
- Shape: Low numbers of normal morphology (teratozoospermia)
These factors can occur in isolation or can appear in combination with each other. They are usually identified at initial semen analysis and confirmed following a repeat semen analysis test with specialised sperm preparation.