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What is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) Treatment?

April 25, 2024

Couples opt for assisted reproductive technology when they face difficulty in conceiving on their own. In-virto Fertilization (IVF) and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) are the popular artificial fertility methods to get pregnant. Doctors recommend intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment when a male suffers from fertility issues like poor sperm quality, low sperm count, inability to ejaculate, etc. ICSI procedure is gaining popularity as male infertility issues have been on the rise in recent years. This alternative IVF treatment increases the chance of getting pregnant. Read to know in detail about intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment.

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Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection Treatment-Overview

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI fertility treatment is carried out for couples in case of male infertility. In this fertility procedure, live sperm from a male is collected and injected directly into the cytoplasm of the egg collected from a female. The egg's cytoplasm is nothing but a gel-like substance present in the centre of the egg. This procedure is carried out in a laboratory where fertilisation takes place, resulting in the formation of an embryo.

Why Go for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection Treatment?

People opt for intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment when the conventional IVF procedure does not provide desirable results. If you're a couple facing multiple IVF failures, then you can opt for ICSI treatment. This assisted reproductive technology is helpful in case of male fertility issues. If your partner is facing fertility issues like a blockage in the male reproductive system, low sperm quality, abnormal sperm function, and problems in ejaculation, then your healthcare provider may suggest undergoing Intracytoplasmic injection treatment for getting pregnant. Women with low egg quality and over 35 years of age can undergo ICSI treatment. If you're using frozen eggs and sperm, then it increases the chance of conceiving with an ICSI treatment procedure.


ICSI and IVF are fertility treatments recommended for couples facing trouble in getting pregnant. Both are artificial fertility treatments where the eggs and sperm are allowed for fertilisation in a lab. In the IVF procedure, several sperm are collected and kept for fertilisation with an egg. There is no guarantee that a sperm will reach the egg and result in fertilisation. In ICSI treatment, a single sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of an egg. This increases the chances of fertilisation, but there is no guarantee of successful fertilisation or conception. In both these procedures, the embryo is injected into the uterus. But both these procedures are not the same as in the ICSI procedure, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg, which increases the chance of conception.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection(ICSI) seems to be more successful than conventional IVF treatments, especially for those with male fertility issues.

Things to Do Before the ICSI Procedure

Consult a gynaecologist or a fertility specialist when you're looking for alternative ways to get pregnant. In case of male fertility problems, your doctor may suggest going for an intracytoplasmic injection, which is a part of the ICSI procedure. Before the ICSI treatment, eggs and sperm will be collected for fertilisation.

Egg Retrieval: Ovarian stimulation injections are offered to help produce multiple high-quality eggs. The eggs are made to mature by injecting hCG. Now a needle is inserted through your vagina to collect the matured eggs from the ovary.

Sperm Collection: The male from whom sperm are to be collected must avoid any sexual activity two to three days before sperm collection. The sperm is collected from the male by allowing them to masturbate, which is to be sent for semen analysis within one hour.

What is Done During the ICSI Treatment Procedure?

During the ICSI procedure, a mature egg and a motile sperm are selected for fertilisation. The outer coating of the egg is removed to ensure that only a mature egg is selected for the ICSI procedure.

During the sperm selection process, the sperm is passed through a medium called sperm slow, which contains HA that binds the sperm with intact DNA. This process ensures the selection of mature and high-quality sperm for the ICSI procedure.

Now, the mature egg is held using a pipette, and the sperm is picked up using a needle. The

sperm is now injected into the cytoplasm of the egg, which is placed in an incubator and periodically checked for insemination. If fertilisation occurs, the embryo is allowed to grow in the laboratory for 2-5 days. The healthcare provider assesses the quality of the embryo. Now embryo transfer takes place, which is a process where a catheter is inserted into your vagina along with the embryo, which is placed inside your uterus. The injected embryo must be implanted in the uterus lining for a successful pregnancy. It is recommended that you go for a pregnancy test after two weeks.

Results of ICSI Treatment

During the ICSI treatment, many eggs can be used for fertilisation. There is a chance of the eggs being successfully fertilised. When the transferred embryo implants in the uterus lining, this may result in a successful pregnancy. However, there is no guarantee that fertilisation will occur in all cases or that the fertilised egg will become an embryo. Several reasons inhibit fertilisation even with the ICSI treatment.

The success rate of ICSI treatment is about 80%. So, there are higher chances for the couple to conceive with ICSI injection treatment.

Reasons for Failed ICSI Treatment

Several reasons inhibit fertilisation and embryo implantation when treated with ICSI treatment. Some of the notable reasons are

  • The eggs may get damaged when injecting the sperm
  • Fertilisation does not happen even after injecting the sperm
  • No growth of the embryo in the laboratory or after embryo transfer.
  • Underlying fertility issues can prevent conception.


Intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment is a reliable alternative fertility treatment for couples who face multiple IVF failures. This type of IVF treatment can help conceive if the couple’s male partner is having fertility issues. Consult your healthcare provider to discuss if an intracytoplasmic sperm injection procedure can be the right one for you.


1. What is the treatment of ICSI?

ICSI, also called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, is a fertility treatment recommended for couples with male fertility issues. In this specialised procedure, a single selected sperm from a male is injected directly into the cytoplasm of the egg from a female. In this procedure, high-quality sperm and mature eggs are used to increase the chance of fertilisation.

2. How successful is ICSI treatment?

Couples who opt for ICSI treatment are likely to conceive as there are higher chances of pregnancy as fertilisation occurs in the laboratory. It is said that about eight out of ten eggs get fertilised when the sperm is injected directly into the cytoplasm of the egg. Thus, the success rate of ICSI treatment is more than 80%, making it a reliable artificial fertility treatment.

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