You ask and we answer! A community member recently asked us about ICSI. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, is a procedure that is sometimes performed during the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. ICSI may help to increase IVF success rates for couples with male infertility issues.
What is ICSI?
When a man’s sperm is unable to penetrate an egg, the sperm may be injected directly into the egg to facilitate fertilization. The process of injecting a single healthy sperm into the interior of the egg is called intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI. The ICSI procedure requires the use of very small surgical tools and a powerful microscope to inject a sperm into the egg.
Why use ICSI?
Here are some common reasons why your doctor may recommend ICSI for you:
- Your partner is dealing with severe male factor infertility issues such as very low sperm count or low motility.
- Your partner has had a vasectomy and is not planning to have it reversed. If this is the case, sperm can be directly removed from his testes using a process called needle aspiration.
- Previous conventional (non-ICSI) IVF cycle resulted in a poor fertilization rate.
There are some critics who believe that ICSI is currently being overused in IVF clinics. Whether dealing with male infertility or not, the majority of couples undergoing IVF in the last few years have been choosing ICSI during the IVF process. Ask your doctor if ICSI is right for you.
What are ICSI success rates?
If you are dealing with severe male factor infertility issues, ICSI may offer you IVF success rates comparable to couples not dealing with male factor infertility. Previously, couples with male factor infertility had very low rates of becoming pregnant, even when undergoing IVF.
In 2010, couples with a diagnosis of male factor infertility overwhelmingly chose to use ICSI along with IVF (at a rate of 87 percent). Here are the live birth success rates for those couples with male infertility that underwent IVF in 2010, grouped by age:
- For women under 35: 45 percent gave birth
- Ages 35 to 37: 36 percent
- Ages 38 to 40: 25 percent
- Ages 41 and 42: 17 percent
The Attain IVF Program can help you finance the cost of multiple IVF cycles even if you need ICSI.
American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
Attain Fertility: ICSI Overview: Hitting the Bull’s Eye
Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology: SART National Summary (IVF Clinic Success Rates)
Dr. Lowell T. Ku, M.D. is an award winning and leading Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist at Dallas IVF, one the nation’s premiere infertility centers. Doctor Ku clarifies the many confusing terms used in the world of Infertility using straightforward explanations.