Treatment guide

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a type of fertility treatment, similar to In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). In the process, the sperm is directly injected into the egg, before placing it into the female’s uterus.

The content has been reviewed for quality and accuracy to the best of our knowledge by Qunomedical and its Medical Board of Experts.

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Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection Quick Details


  • Couples that have male infertility issues, such as a low sperm count or poor mobility of sperm.

  • Couples that have previously not had success with IVF.

  • Couples that have had a vasectomy but would like another child.

  • Couples using frozen sperm to get pregnant.


  • The first stage to reach ovulation takes around 14 days.

  • Egg maturation and removal then take around 2-4 days.

  • Fertilisation then lasts for 3-5 days in the laboratory. Following fertilisation, the embryo is implanted.

  • Around 14 days after that, patients return to their specialist to assess whether the process was a success.


  • Following the implantation of the fertilised embryo, you can immediately return home and it is recommended that you rest for as long as your body needs it.


  • The average fertilization rates vary between 50-80%.

  • These depend largely on your individual case and take into account factors such as age, whether or not you have gone through previous fertility treatments, your current health status, and medical history.


  • During the process some or all of the eggs may become damaged.

  • The fertilised egg may not develop into a pregnancy or may not go to full term.

  • Increased risk of possible birth defects as compared to a natural pregnancy.

  • Increased likelihood of male infertility being passed onto your offspring.

  • Psychological symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety and stress.

How Does ICSI Work?

An ICSI process is very similar to an IVF cycle, with one major difference. In an IVF procedure the sperms and eggs are placed together and left to fertilise on their own, whereas in an ICSI procedure an embryologist injects a single sperm into the egg, thus improving the chances of fertilisation.

Here are the steps of a cycle:

  • The woman will be prescribed fertility medication, in order to maximise the egg production. This is also done to increase the likelihood of extracting healthy eggs. You will undergo regular tests during this period to ensure you are in optimal health.

  • The second phase is the extraction of the mature egg for the fertilisation. You will be placed under general anaesthesia, and the doctor will begin by stimulating ovulation so that the eggs can be retrieved. This takes around 30 minutes.

  • In the third phase, the sperm is obtained.The sperm is then prepared so it is available for the fertilization. The fertilization process will begin by first using a sharp, hollow needle to pick up one sperm, which will then be inserted through the shell of the egg into the cytoplasm.

  • The egg is checked and monitored regularly to ensure that is has been fertilized.

  • As a final step, the embryo will be placed in your womb.

Following implantation, regular check-ins with your doctor are needed to monitor the pregnancy. 2 weeks after you will know whether or not the implantation was successful.

What Should I Expect From This Procedure?

Make sure to have an initial consultation with your doctor, to talk about your medical history, all possible options and your motivations for undergoing the procedure.

ICSI does not ensure a successful pregnancy and there are risks associated with it, such as sex chromosome associated defects in your child and an increased risk of miscarriage. You may also experience fertility medication related side effects such as mood swings, tenderness in your breasts, bloating, and hot flashes. Additionally, as the process is very personal, it is understandable that you will be stressed and anxious. Make sure to always talk to your family, friends, or doctor, and engage in activities that you enjoy. Also, maintain a healthy lifestyle.

As any fertility treatment, ICSI has varying success rates and they depend on your age, your health status and related factors. Do not lose heart if ICSI does not work for you, there are many other treatments possible.


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