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Intracytoplasmic Sperm Micro Injection (ICSI)

With the advent of in vitro fertilization, a whole new area of infertility treatment was thrown open. But this was still not the answer for a lot of infertile couple for whom IVF was not possible due to poor sperm.

About 35-40% of men have very low sperm count and / or very low motility or presence of antisperm antibodies, which prevent fertilization of the egg even with IVF. In 3-5% cases the eggs fail to fertilize even though the sperm count and motility are satisfactory. All these couple benefit from sperm micro-injection. As the name suggests, Micromanipulation / ICSI means, assisting the union of the sperm and the egg (fertilization) outside the human body at microscopic level.

This is a very complicated and precise technique requiring a highly skilled reproductive scientist to perform the procedure under the microscope. The egg and the sperm are minute cells visible only under the microscope. In simple terms, sperm microinjection involves holding the egg with a fine glass tube (called the holding pipette) with gentle suction under the microscope and inject a single sperm into the egg with another fine glass needle (called the injecting needle).

The sperm is injected directly into the cytoplasm of the egg (ooplasm) to fertilize the egg. So sperm motility is not essential for fertilization. The sperm should be completely non motile for this procedure. Once the sperm is deposited inside the egg the fertilization process is same as with normal sperm entry into the egg. Some of the eggs are not suitable for ICSI procedure and some the eggs may not fertilize even after ICSI procedure as these eggs may have abnormal chromosomes. The fertilization rate after ICSI is around 80%.