Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection - Everything You Need To Know

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

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Are you worried that you or your partner may not be fertile enough to conceive children? Does the thought of infertility scare you? If you answered yes to either question, you may want to read this post. Here we talk about Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, or ICSI, which is one of the most successful therapies for infertile adults to have children. Read on and learn about what is ICSI treatment here.

IVF (In Vitro Fertilization):

ICSI falls under the IVF (in vitro fertility) category. Before we talk about ICSI procedure, let’s have a look at IVF.

“Vitro” refers to a glass. In vitro-fertility refers to, fertilization that occurs inside a glass. The process involves removing an egg from a female’s ovary and fusing it with sperms in the laboratory. The environment emulates the natural condition where the egg and sperm fuse to form a zygote. The fertilization occurs in the glass container, which is why we call it ‘in vitro fertilization .’

Why IVF?

You might consider an IVF procedure due to many reasons, which include:

  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Low sperm count
  • Side effects of fertility drugs
  • Infertility

[ Read: Does Fertility Treatment Cause Cancer ]

Steps In IVF:

IVF involves a few steps. Following all the steps is one cycle. Even if the procedure is not successful in one cycle, multiple cycles of IVF help you become successful soon.

1. Using Fertility Drugs:

Normally, the rate of egg production is around one a month. During the IVF procedure, fertility drugs improve your egg production count per month.

2. Hormone Injections:

After a few days of consuming fertility drugs, you will be given hormones over a period of 12 days to improve the count and condition of the eggs.

3. Egg Retrieval And Sperm Collection:

Doctors perform ultrasound scans to find out whether the eggs are ready. When they are, doctors collect them using an ultra-scan-probe. After extraction, your male partner will donate semen. Once they collect the semen, they choose the best eggs for fertilization. The eggs and sperm combine in a glass container and the container placed in an incubator for fertilization.

4. Fertilization And Embryo Transfer:

After 24 hours of fusion, the doctor will check the egg and the sperm for any possible fertilization. If the procedure is a success, doctors preserve the egg and place it in a blastocyst, a mass of cells, to grow. The next step is the implantation of the blastocysts into the uterus. Once your body accepts the blastocyst and continues to form a baby, and the cycle is successful.

Fusion can occur many times before it is successful. The cycle lasts for around 4 to 6 weeks. Repeated cycles help increase the possibility of fertilization.

[ Read: Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome ]


The Intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI features in about fifty percent of all IVF treatments. Men who are infertile opt for an IVF, and typically receive an ICSI injection as a part of IVF.


Let’s understand why men opt for ICSI fertility treatment and who need it. In most cases, men with problems opt for ICSI process. These problems include:

1. Low Sperm Count:

If your male partner has a low or zero sperm count, he should consider an ICSI.

2. Abnormally Shaped Sperm:

Abnormally shaped sperm can lead to poor sperm mobility and impedes the sperm’s movement, which translates to low fertility levels.

3. No Ejaculation:

If your partner cannot ejaculate sperms and the sperm stops in the testicles or ducts, he might need an ICSI injection.

4. Vasectomy:

Your male partner may be infertile due to an irreversible vasectomy.

5. Injuries:

If your partner suffers from a spinal cord injury or a nervous system injury, he may turn out to be infertile.

[ Read: Drugs To Treat Male Infertility ]

ICSI Procedure:

Now that we know what ICSI is let’s take a closer look at the procedure. It usually concentrates on providing a solution to reproductive problems in males, so the main step in the entire process involves collecting usable and healthy sperms from males.

The initial process for the female is the same as that of IVF. You will consume fertility drugs and take hormone injections for 12 days. If everything is according to schedule, the doctor will collect your eggs and store them. Typically, sperm collection and egg extraction occur on the same day. The procedure may be different for different kinds of people.

Some procedures that doctors use to collect sperm include:

  1. If your partner is healthy enough, he may ejaculate into a cup and collect the sperms. If he isn’t healthy or the sperm count in semen is too low, doctors use a needle to collect the sperm.
  1. The process of sperm extraction or percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration.
  1. Another technique is testicular sperm aspiration. It refers to collecting sperms from your testicles.
  1. Depending on your partner’s health, doctors may use any one procedure under the effect of local anesthesia.
  1. Once they collect the semen, lab experts take it to the lab where they separate individual sperms and inject one of them into the egg of the female partner. From here onwards, the procedure is exactly same as IVF.

The process occurs in many cycles, with each lasting for around 4 to 6 weeks.

[ Read: Ways To Boost Male Fertility ]

Advantages Of ICSI:

Infertility problems for males are no longer incurable. There are many solutions to the problem, and ICSI helps solve many different types of infertility issues.

Limitations Of ICSI:

As with all medical procedures, there are some limitations for ICSI success rates, which include:

  • Highly expensive.
  • Modest success rate.
  • The success rate of ICSI injections is higher than other IVF techniques, but at a 44% success rate, it isn’t exactly value for money either.
  • During the natural process, only the strongest sperm goes for fertilization. However, during the IVF, doctors select a random single sperm, which can cause unusual side effects like abnormalities in your offspring.

[ Read: Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) Infertility Treatment ]

There are many studies on how to perfect the IVF process, but right now, it remains a risk. ICSI may soon become one of the best solutions for fertility issues in men in the near future, but not too soon.

We hope you found the post useful. Share your experiences, if any, of ICSI here. Leave a comment below.

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Harini Santhosh