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Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a specialised form of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) that was developed to help male factor infertility and has succeeded in reducing very considerably the use of donor sperm in contemporary infertility management.

ICSI involves the injection of a single healthy sperm directly into each mature egg. Thus, with ICSI, the ability of the sperm to penetrate the egg is no longer an issue as this is done as part of the procedure.

When is ICSI Considered?

ICSI is usually considered when:

  • Sperm count is very low or absent (Azoospermia)
  • Sperm are abnormally shaped (poor morphology) or they don’t move normally (poor motility)
  • Obstructive azoospermia (e.g Vasectomy) prevent sperm release via testicular sperm aspiration (TESA).
  • There are high levels of antibodies in the semen.
  • There’s failure to achieve fertilization after conventional IVF treatment.


For more information about our ICSI service

The ICSI Procedure

The treatment process of ICSI is similar to that of conventional IVF. The couples go through the same preparatory processes as in conventional IVF, namely ovulation induction and egg collection. The difference arises in the way the eggs and sperm are treated in the laboratory.

Once the eggs are retrieved, an embryologist places the eggs in a special culture. Specialized equipment is then used to retrieve a single sperm which is then injected into each egg. Once fertilization occurs, the embryo grows in a laboratory for 1 to 5 days before it is transferred to the intending mother’s womb.

Is ICSI Safe?

Current evidence does not show a significantly increased risk of congenital abnormalities in children conceived through ICSI. It is however known that some forms of severe male infertility have a genetic link and it is possible that the genetic disorders which have led to the sperm problem in the father may be passed onto the offspring.

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