Learn more about building your family with the help of ICSI.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)


Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

The process of using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) typically involves the same steps as traditional IVF, however, at insemination only a single sperm is injected into the egg with a needle by a highly trained embryologist.

If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, ICSI may be an additional option that may be considered and utilized by your physician. Talk to your fertility specialist to learn more about the procedure and whether it is an appropriate option for  you.

What is ICSI?

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a specialized form of in vitro fertilization (IVF) that involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg. This technique is used to treat infertility caused by problems with sperm, such as low sperm count,  poor sperm motility, and severely abnormal sperm shape (morphology).

How does ICSI work?

ICSI is performed in a laboratory, using a microscope and a very fine needle to carefully inject the sperm into the egg. The eggs are then fertilized and resulting embryo grown in a special culture medium until they reach the appropriate stage of development, at which point they are transferred to the woman's uterus.

ICSI Success Rates

ICSI has a higher success rate than traditional IVF and is often used when other fertility treatments have led to suboptimal or failed fertilization. It is also used when there is a risk of genetic defects in the sperm, when there is a blockage in the man's reproductive tract, or when the man has had a vasectomy. Learn more about who benefits from ICSI.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Breaking Down the ICSI process

  • Ovarian stimulation: The woman takes medication to stimulate the ovaries to produce mature  eggs. This is done to increase the chances of having more eggs for fertilization.
  • Egg retrieval: The eggs are retrieved from the ovaries using a transvaginal ultrasound-guided needle. This procedure is done under intravenous sedation and takes about 15-30 minutes.
  • Sperm collection: The man usually provides a semen sample on the day of the egg retrieval or ahead of time when it will be frozen untiil ready for use on the day of retrieval. If necessary, the sperm can be collected through a epididymal or testicular biopsy.
  • Insemination of the sperm using ICSI: The sperm are prepared in the laboratory and then a single sperm is selected and injected into each egg using a fine needle.
  • Fertilization check: The eggs are checked the next day to see if fertilization has occurred.
  • Embryo development: The fertilized eggs are cultured in a special medium for 2-7 days, until they reach the appropriate stage of development and in most cases the resulting embryos will be frozen (or biopsied for PGT testing and then frozen).
  • Embryo transfer: The embryo is eventually  transferred to the woman's uterus through the cervix using abdominal ultrasound guidance. This procedure is done using a thin catheter and is not painful.
  • Pregnancy test: Eight to nine days  after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test is done to confirm if the procedure was successful.

Speak with a fertility specialist about using ICSI on your path to parenthood. Schedule a consult today.

Advanced fertility

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) FAQ

How is ICSI performed? 

ICSI is performed during in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. The procedure begins with the collection of a sperm sample from the male partner. Then, the eggs are collected from the female partner and are placed in a dish containing a culture medium. The sperm is then selected and injected directly into the egg using a fine glass needle.

What are the success rates of ICSI? 

The fertilization success rates using  ICSI vary depending on factors such as the age of the couple, the cause of infertility, and the quality of the sperm and eggs. In general, the successful fertilization  rate per ICSI cycle is around 80 percent.

Who is a good candidate for ICSI? 

ICSI is often recommended for couples where the male partner has a low sperm count or poor sperm motility, or where fertilization has failed in previous IVF cycles. It may also be used in cases of unexplained infertility or when there is a genetic disorder present that could be passed on to the child.

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“Thank you to Dr Zoneraich, Dr Larsen & everyone at Advanced Fertility care for helping to bring our little miracle into the world! We are so grateful to have this wonderful child in our lives & it would not be possible without your expertise and care. We are so happy and feel incredibly blessed… Thank you!”

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“We cannot say enough about AFC. We started our infertility journey at another practice and had a horrible experience. After starting with AFC, everything changed. Dr. Larsen took time to listen and was truly aware of our needs and feelings. We cannot thank him enough. We have a beautiful son and are over the moon.“

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"My wife and I have been trying for over six years to start a family, starting with trying naturally of course, IUI, IVF, and 3 transfers prior to meeting with Dr.Z and the Advanced Fertility team. We wanted to give it one more shot and were lucky enough to have a family friend offer to be a carrier, as well as try one more time with my wife as well. We felt very comfortable right off the bat. We had worked with 2 other fertility centers in Phoenix and Scottsdale prior. This team made us feel welcome and laid out a game plan and set our expectations and were very clear and realistic. Our wait times were non existent compared to another major facility where we did our first IVF, their avg wait 30-60 mins. We were not sold or told that they guaranteed to fill our house with kids like we heard verbatim at other establishments."

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"We cannot say enough about AFC. We started our infertility journey at another practice and had a horrible experience. After starting with AFC, everything changed. Dr. Larsen took time to listen and was truly aware of our needs and feelings. We cannot thank him enough. We have a beautiful son and are over the moon."

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"We’ve been on our infertility journey since 2009. Advanced Fertility Care is the 4th fertility Drs office we went to. We LOVE them! I will never go anywhere else. They are the whole package. In our early experiences with other offices, we found the hands off approach frustrating. We saw Drs at consultations but all treatments and ultrasounds were done by nurse practitioners. Decisions were frequently made by nurse practitioners. We thought this was normal care – it’s not! I have never been seen by a nurse practitioner at Advanced Fertility Care."