Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

Up to 30% of infertility cases are related to male factors. With ICSI, we can help you get pregnant - even if you struggle with low sperm count or reduced sperm motility.
The ICSI method of fertilisation only requires a single sperm for each egg. This sperm is injected into the egg by the embryologist. ICSI is the best way to overcome male factor infertility.

What is ICSI treatment?

Intracytoplasmic injection or ICSI, involves the injection of a single sperm into a mature egg.

In traditional IVF, 1 egg and up to 100,000 sperm are placed in a petri dish. Fertilisation is achieved by natural processes involving changes to both sperm and egg.

Dr Tamara Hunter: What is ICSI?

Who is ICSI for?

ICSI is primarily used for couples where the chances of fertilisation with IVF are low due to poor quality sperm. It is also used for testicular sperm, poor quality sperm post freezing, or reduced or failed fertilisation in a previous IVF cycle.

"ICSI is a great option if the sperm has reduced motility or if the man has a low sperm count. We prepare the semen sample and choose a healthy looking sperm for injection. This process increases the likelihood of fertilisation being achieved."
A/Prof Krishnan Karthigasu


ICSI is part of an IVF treatment cycle. It is used when we know the sperm quality is not optimal The difference between ICSI and IVF is how insemination is performed to achieve fertilisation. We expect 55-70% of mature eggs to fertilise with both IVF and ICSI.

How is ICSI done?

Simply put, the treatment can be explained in 6 steps:

Ovarian stimulation

The woman takes hormones to stimulate the follicles within the ovaries. Her cycle is tracked with ultrasound scans and blood tests.

Egg collection

We collect eggs from the ovarian follicles.


A sperm is selected and drawn into a very fine glass pipette. It is then injected into each individual egg.

Embryo development

Over the next few days, the embryos develop through to the blastocyst stage.


We transfer one embryo into the uterus.


When we have multiple blastocyst stage embryos, we freeze the remaining embryos for future use. This is also called cryopreservation.

Key points

An intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is the best option when:

The male has reduced sperm count or if he cannot ejaculate

After a vasectomy

The sperm has reduced motility

What are the risks with ICSI?

The rate of birth defects does not seem to differ between ICSI and IVF treatments. As with any type or ART treatment, this procedure may increase your risk of a multiple pregnancy.

To learn more about intracytoplasmic sperm injection, consult our specialised clinic.

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