Treatments & Options - ICSI - Procedures

Thanks to the wonders of science, doctors can now inject a single, tiny sperm directly into an egg during a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This procedure may increase your chances of in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancy success. 

What is ICSI?
The ICSI process takes place alongside IVF. It is often performed for couples that are dealing with male factor infertility and for those who have not had success with IVF in the past.

The ICSI process
There are five main steps to the ICSI procedure:

  1. A sperm sample is taken from your partner's semen or surgically extracted from his testes or epididymis. Some fertility clinics choose to use fresh sperm that have just been extracted, while others prefer to do the ICSI procedure with frozen sperm.
  2. Your eggs are surgically retrieved with a tiny needle at the right time of your cycle.
  3. Fertilization then happens outside your body in a sterile lab dish. Back in the laboratory, while holding a mature egg with a special tool, a single sperm will be injected directly into the cytoplasm (the center) of the egg using a small needle.
  4. After injection, the fertilized egg is observed for growth and development.
  5. If the fertilization is successful, after about 3 to 5 days, the growing fertilized egg is placed into your uterus for implantation. After a two-week wait, you will find out if you are pregnant.

The ICSI procedure is performed using a technique called micromanipulation. Micromanipulation uses a special microscope, along with very small surgical tools, to pick up and handle one single sperm, injecting it directly into an egg.

ICSI and IVF success
ICSI can increase IVF success rates but the procedure is not perfect. It is important for you and your partner to discuss the ICSI risks and benefits with your physician. Your doctor can provide information that’s specific to your personal fertility history.