Following egg retrieval, the sperm is processed and each egg is incubated with sperm. Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into a mature egg.
ICSI is used in cases where there are few sperm, those present are not swimming well, or appear under the microscope to have characteristics associated with a poor change of being able to bind and fertilize the egg. In many cases of significant male factor, all three of these sperm characteristics may be present. Below is a microscopic view of an egg undergoing ICSI.
ICSI is useful for patients with the most severe cases of male infertility such as extremely low sperm counts, poor motility, abnormal sperm morphology, severe cases of antisperm antibodies, or no sperm in the semen. Sperm for use with ICSI can be obtained from ejaculated specimens or retrieved directly from the epididymis or testis. Very few sperm are required for this procedure and motility is not absolutely necessary. Since its introduction, ICSI has revolutionized the field of assisted reproductive technology!