First developed as a laboratory technique to help couples who have severe male factor infertility, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is commonly used with all in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles today in order to ensure fertilization. In 2010, more than half of all IVF cycles performed in the United States used ICSI.
ICSI is a technique in which a single live sperm is injected directly into the egg after the eggs are retrieved. This differs from traditional IVF in which the egg and sperm are mixed together in a petri dish in order to fertilize naturally.
ICSI takes place after the egg retrieval during an IVF cycle. The man's semen sample is prepared in a centrifuge to separate the live sperm from dead sperm and debris. Then, the embryologist selects a single live sperm to inject into the cytoplasm of the egg with a small needle.
Couples who should definitely consider using ICSI with IVF include couples in which:
- Low sperm count
- Abnormally shaped sperm
- Low sperm motility (movement)
- Probliems with sperm penetrating the egg
- Antisperm antibodies thought to be the cause of infertility
- Retrograde ejaculation or obstruction of the male reproductive tract that is not able to be repaired surgically (this may also require another procedure called testicular sperm extraction, or TESE)
Couples who did not have any eggs fertilize in a previous IVF cycle should also consider ICSI.
ICSI typically adds approxiimately $1,500 to the cost of IVF.