What is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)?

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a procedure where embryologists fertilize the woman’s egg by injecting the sperm directly into the egg in a laboratory setting. 

When is ICSI recommended?

ICSI is specifically used in cases of male factor infertility:

  • Low sperm count 
  • Sperm with an uncharacteristic shape or function
  • Sperm that can neither attach to nor penetrate the egg
  • A blockage in the man’s system that prevents sperm from releasing into the ejaculate 

Risks of ICSI

If male infertility is due to genetic causes, boys produced by ICSI may have the same fertility issues as their fathers when they reach adulthood.

ICSI successfully fertilizes 50-80 percent of eggs. However, there are some risks:

  • The ICSI procedure may damage a few eggs; however, the percentage of damaged eggs is very low with an experienced embryologist.
  • The egg treated with ICSI might not fertilize and grow to an embryo after it is injected with sperm.