ICSI is a type of IVF treatment that involves drawing up a single sperm into a very fine glass needle and injecting it directly into the centre of the egg.
In some circumstances, usually because of very low sperm counts, conventional IVF treatment will be unlikely to succeed because fertilisation will probably not occur.
The treatment you receive will be exactly the same as IVF treatment. The eggs and sperm will be collected and a single sperm will be drawn up into a very small pipette. This will be injected directly into the middle of the egg. The egg will be looked at the next day to see if fertilisation has occurred. If successful we will transfer the embryo(s) to the womb in the usual way. There is a small chance (about 10%) that the egg will be damaged by this injection process and this egg would then not develop.
Many babies have been born after being conceived using ICSI and there is no conclusive evidence that they have a higher rate of abnormality than IVF children. However, the children born have not yet reached maturity. There is theoretically a very small risk that infertility could be passed on to a male child. We will discuss this in more detail with you in the clinic.
Occasionally, some men produce no sperm at all. We now have a technique where sperm can be taken directly from the testicle or surrounding tubes (surgical sperm retrieval). This is done using either a local or general anaesthetic. The sperm would be injected into the egg by the ICSI method to achieve fertilisation. If you need surgical sperm retrieval, it will be discussed with you fully at the clinic.