Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

Around 50% of couples that have challenges conceiving have sperm-related infertility.

Today, ICSI is the most successful treatment for male infertility. 

What does it involve?

ICSI involves injecting a single sperm into an egg to achieve fertilisation rather than leaving multiple eggs and sperm in a petri-dish.

There are two main groups of patients that may require ICSI:

  • Individuals who have a sperm problem
  • Patients who have previously attempted IVF but have failed to achieve fertilisation (generally on more than one occasion)

Sperm with poor morphology can struggle to penetrate the egg. This can be overcome with ICSI by selecting the most “normal” shaped sperm.


The HFEA states that ICSI is highly successful with fertilisation occuring in around 90% of cases. Success rates are similar to those found in IVF cycles.

An ICSI cycle is identical to an IVF cycle. The only exception is that instead of mixing the sperm with the eggs in a petri dish and leaving them to fertilise, an embryologist will inject a single sperm into each egg.

A surgical sperm retrieval (SSR) procedure may be required to extract the sperm from the male partner first. You can find out more information on the HFEA website.


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