Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Most of the time, people face difficulty in conceiving because infertility might be sperm related. Therefore, Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI is primarily used to treat infertility in males. It is a specialized form of IVF (In vitro fertilization) which involves directly injecting the sperm of a person into a matured egg in a laboratory. It creates a fertilized egg called an embryo and assists couples to conceive a child.

About Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection refers to injecting one single live sperm directly into the human egg at the centre. ICSI is a kind of in-vitro fertilization in which a gel-like substance formed of salt, water and other molecules, is placed in the inner side of an egg cytoplasm.

In this procedure, in order to develop several matured eggs, a female partner would go through ovarian stimulation along with fertility medications. The eggs, using vaginal ultrasound will be then aspirated through the vagina and incubated in the embryology laboratory under specific conditions. The live sperm gets separated from mostly dead sperm and debris through the preparation of a semen sample (prepared by spinning the cell through a particular medium or centrifuging). The live sperm is finally picked up in a glass needle by an embryologist, which injects it into the egg directly.

Who can opt for Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)?

Males who are infertile or those couples who had faced failure in prior IVF attempts can opt for Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection. Some of the reasons in which you can opt for ICSI if a person has:

  • very low and poor sperm count
  • an ejaculation
  • when semen flows reversed into the bladder
  • there is a blockage in the reproductive system of a male
  • age is above 35 of a person who supplies eggs
  • Previously using cryopreservation to conceive

Why Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is conducted

Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection is generally conducted in cases of severe infertility in males. It assists in achieving fertilization as it is an effective treatment for couples who are unable to conceive. The procedure is therefore conducted if the sperms are too low to perform artificial insemination (Intrauterine Insemination) or the sperm is unable to attach to the egg. ICSI is a part of IVF or In-vitro fertilization that overcomes many barriers to the fertilization process. ICSI develops hope in couples to achieve success in pregnancy and to acquire fertilized embryos as 50-80% of the eggs are usually fertilized.

Benefits of Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

ICSI directly benefits those couples who face failure or difficulties to conceive due to male infertility factors. It is more successful than traditional IVF as fertilization rates, that are currently achieved are around 70 -80 per cent of total eggs injected. It is a worthy option to consider in case of ejaculation problems or other infertility problems in males. It provides the benefit to become a father to the male partner by using his own sperm. If a man had gone through a vasectomy, ICSI can be even then performed by using special sperm retrieval techniques.

Risks or complications of Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

The ICSI procedure, however very low association with risks but the techniques used for the retrieval of sperm might be risky. Some of the factors associated with risk are chances of conceiving multiple pregnancy increases when ICSI along with IVF is used. Another risk of ICSI is that children conceived might be born with health conditions. Although, the condition is very rare but chances that infertility may genetically transfer to the child. During the process, some of the eggs get damaged because not all of them can be able to develop into healthy embryos.


ICSI is a part of in-vitro fertilization or IVF is a process in which a sperm is directly injected into the egg in order to fertilize it naturally. To sum up Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, we can the process has its pros and cons which one should always keep in mind. Doctors usually recommend this procedure to treat severe cases of male infertility and enable them to become a father. This technique was introduced in the early 1990s, and since then its use by couples has a lot increased. 

State the key difference between ICSI and IVF.

The major difference between ICSI and IVF is that in IVF, The multiple sperms, left in a petri dish fertilize the egg on their own however in ICSI, only one sperm of the male is directly injected into a matured egg.

Can ICSI lead to multiple pregnancies?

ICSI, along with IVF increases the chances of multiple pregnancies maybe twins or even triplets. Certain complications increase for both doctor and the patient when a mother is carrying multiple

What do mean by ICSI in general?

Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection or we can say ICSI is a procedure in which one sperm of a male is directly injected into a person’s egg in the embryology laboratory. It is an infertility treatment for males that creates an embryo, it is a kind or part of IVF.

In which year, ICSI was first practised?

In the year 1992, led by Professor André Van Steirteghem in Belgium was when the first time ICSI was practised.

What is the success rate of ICSI?

The chances of successfully conceiving with ICSI are the same with traditional IVF, however, 6 out of 10 IVF procedure occur by using ICSI. Around 50-80% of attempts result in successful fertilization through ICSI.

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