ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)

An infertility treatment for couples with a male infertility factor


By Brandie Umar, Executive Director of ContentLast modified: December 12, 2011




ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) Defined

IVF with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a common solution for a male infertility factor. IVF with ICSI is an infertility treatment in which a single sperm is injected directly into the inner part of a female egg for the purposes of fertilization. ICSI treats conditions where the sperm cannot otherwise reach the egg. The direct injection of the sperm and egg makes it a useful method for increasing the chances of producing a successful pregnancy.

Men with sperm abnormalities who plan to undergo IVF with ICSI microinjection sometimes require a method of sperm retrieval if their fertility factor is severe. 


A Good Candidate For ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)

IVF with ICSI is for couples with abnormal sperm function. A male infertility factor is the cause of problems in approximately 20 percent of infertile couples. There are different characteristics of sperm that can lead to infertility. Oligospermia refers to semen with low concentrations of sperm (generally less than 5 million sperm per milliliter). Some men with oligospermia also have asthenospermia, which is the term used for sperm that has poor motility (generally less than 5%). These characteristics of sperm can lead to male infertility. The IVF with ICSI procedure is designed to combat these specific problems.

There is not currently a method of rectifying sperm abnormalities. While IVF with ISCI facilitates a pregnancy by encouraging fertilization regardless of sperm abnormalities, it is not a guarantee in causing pregnancy. Despite the fact that sperm is injected directly into the cytoplasm, there is still remaining work left for the sperm to do. That said, the ICSI procedure fertilizes an average of 50 to 50 percent of eggs.  Doctors will determine whether IVF with ICSI is a good treatment option after the male partner undergoes a semen analysis in infertility testing.

Risks Of ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)

Whether IVF with ICSI increases the risk of birth defects is still unknown. Doctors have continually improved the procedure since the first child was born from ICSI in 1992. The risk of birth defects in natural pregnancies is about 1.5 to 3 percent. The father’s male infertility factor may be passed onto a male baby born from IVF with ICSI because male infertility can often be genetic.









A Good Candidate for IVF with ICSI


A good candidate for IVF with ICSI is usually a male with a poorly mobile sperm or lack or sperm content in his ejaculate.



IVF with ICSI Procedure


The IVF with ICSI procedure occurs in-vitro outside of the female body. As in a regular IVF procedure, doctors extract eggs and fertilize them with sperm to form embryos. However, rather than placing them together, doctors inject the sperm into the egg to facilitate fertilization.


Cost of IVF with ICSI


ICSI is considered an additional cost of treatment. The cost of IVF with ICSI differs around the world, which is one of the reasons why people travel abroad to undergo the procedure


Natural Cycle with ICSI


A natural cycle with ICSI does not use fertility drugs, but still manually injects the sperm into the female egg. Natural cycles are good for women who do not want to take on the risks and side effects associated with fertility drugs. 




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