Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection for Infertility

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an In Vitro Fertilization procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg in order to achieve fertilization. This procedure is most commonly used to overcome male infertility although at La Jolla IVF we have found ICSI to be a very effective method to get increased rates of fertilization of eggs in the IVF lab.

In the early 1990’s the ICSI technique was developed for male factor infertility and as a remedy for male infertility ICSI has revolutionized infertility treatment. Before the advent of ICSI, the only options for men with poor semen parameters were to use donor sperm or to adopt. ICSI is so effective that we have had many cases where we have had less sperm to work with than eggs available and we were still able to help those couples have a family.

Once mature eggs have been obtained from the female the ICSI procedure is performed under a microscope using multiple specialized micromanipulation devices (micromanipulators, microinjectors and micropipettes) that enable the embryologist to select and then pick up individual sperm in the tiny, hollow ICSI needle.

Once loaded with the single sperm, the hollow needle is pierced through the outer shell of the egg and egg membrane and the sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of the egg. After the procedure, the injected oocyte will be placed into cell culture inside an incubator and checked approximately 18 hours later for signs of fertilization.