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ICSI is the most common and successful treatment for male infertility.

Your doctor may recommend ICSI if:

  • you have a very low sperm count.
  • your sperm are abnormally shaped or they don’t move normally.
  • you’ve had IVF previously and none, or very few of the eggs fertilized.
  • you need sperm to be collected surgically from the testicles or epididymis (a narrow tube inside the scrotum where sperm are stored and matured).
  • you’re using frozen sperm in your treatment which isn’t of the highest quality, especially if it was stored because your fertility was under threat, or following a surgical sperm retrieval.
  • you’re having embryo testing for a genetic condition, and sperm sticking to the outside of the eggs would interfere with the results.

Key facts

  • ICSI is an effective treatment for men with infertility.
  • It’s performed as part of IVF.
  • It involves the sperm being injected directly into the egg.
  • Some men may need their sperm to be surgically extracted first.

Treatment is exactly the same as with IVF. The only difference is that instead of mixing the sperm with the eggs and leaving them to fertilize, a skilled embryologist will inject a single sperm into the egg.

This maximizes the chance of fertilization taking place as it bypasses any potential problems the sperm will have in getting inside the egg.

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