ICSI is an acronym for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. This is a specialised form of IVF which is highly beneficial for cases where the male partner is affected by low sperm count or other such issues like sperm motility.
Mature eggs are retrieved from the female partner just like regular IVF. Then, the male partner’s semen sample is prepared in the lab to isolate as many healthy, moving sperm as possible.
After allowing the eggs to rest for two to three hours following their removal, the tight outer coating of cells (cumulus) is removed from each egg. Only then can we be sure the egg is mature enough to undergo ICSI.
Motile sperm are selected for injection on the basis of their morphology (shape). This visual approach may not necessarily reflect their functionality or ability to fertilise an egg (oocyte).
With great precision, the needle is inserted through the egg’s outer coating (the zona pellucida) and into the egg itself. The sperm is slowly injected into the egg and the needle is removed, leaving the sperm behind.
The injected eggs are placed in an incubator overnight and checked the next morning for signs of fertilisation. After an additional 24 hours, we can determine how many have divided and gone on to form embryos. Not all eggs fertilise, and not all fertilised eggs become embryos. As with standard IVF, the number of embryos replaced into the uterus depends on the woman’s age and medical history.