Intracytoplasmic Sperm injection or ICSI is a technique that is available for male factor infertility and was initially utilised for low sperm counts. ICSI was discovered by accident during subzonal insemination (SUZI), another assisted reproductive procedure, in the early 1990’s. Recent data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicates that of 32,803 cycles in 2010, 67.3% used ICSI.
The basic IVF cycle is unchanged, except for what happens in the laboratory after the oocyte retrieval procedure. After the semen sample is prepared, the oocyte is transferred into an injection dish and viewed under the microscope. An injection micro-pipette (an extremely fine needle) is loaded with a single sperm, while a holding micro-pipette is used to stabilise the egg. The sperm is then injected directly into the oocyte. This technology has been made possible through the use of high magnification microscopy and micro-manipulation devices.
The resulting injected egg is then returned to the incubator and treated in the same manner as for standard IVF. It is expected that roughly 70% of mature oocytes will fertilise using the ICSI procedure.
The ICSI Procedure