The development of ICSI has revolutionised male fertility, making it possible for men to have a family who would otherwise not have been able to and is now used in nearly half of all IVF treatments in the UK.
Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg to fertilise it. The fertilised egg (embryo) is then transferred into the womb a few days later. The development of ICSI means fertilisation is possible even if there are problems with your partner’s sperm and it is usually recommended if there is any reason to believe the egg will not fertilise with conventional IVF.
ICSI is used most often when your partner has:
- A very low sperm count,
- A very high percentage of abnormally shaped sperm,
- A high level of anti-sperm antibodies.
Even if he has no sperm at all then it is often still possible to retrieve sperm surgically from the testicles or epidermis
ICSI is often recommended if less than 50% of eggs have been fertilised in previous IVF cycles. There is no difference between ICSI and IVF in terms of the treatment the female partner undergoes. The only difference is in the way the eggs are fertilised.
ICSI Success rates
Fertilisation rates are slightly higher with ICSI compared to IVF. The average fertilisation per egg is about 60 – 70%, and more than 90% of women have at least one egg fertilised. However, there is no significant difference in pregnancy rates between ICSI and IVF.