If your partner has been tested and found to have very low sperm count, poor sperm quality, limited or no sperm motility or the presence of an abundance of antisperm antibodies, ICSI might be a good fit for you!
ICSI is a fertilization procedure where a single sperm is injected directly into the middle of an egg and then eventually placed back into the women’s uterus. The process is very similar to IVF and in fact is often used in conjunction with IVF.
First, ovulation is stimulated and eggs are produced using the aid of fertility medication. Next, eggs and sperm are retrieved. If sperm cannot be collected in the usual ways, doctors can also use testicular sperm extraction or microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration to get their sample. With ICSI, doctors will most often use your partner’s sperm instead of using a donor. After the retrievals, the membranes around the eggs are removed to make it easier for fertilization to occur. Each egg then has one sperm injected into its center and placed in an incubator for fertilization. The doctors monitor the eggs for the next couple of days until the transfer is completed.
Although this procedure is very similar to the treatment of eggs during IVF, there are differences. One of the most important is that with IVF, the sperm fertilizes the egg naturally. For that to happen, the sperm needs to be healthy and have good movement. With ICSI, the sperm is chosen and injected right into the egg. Because of this, even samples from men with limited slow moving sperm can have success during the fertilization process.
At this point, ICSI has about a 30% success rate; depending on the ages of the couple.