Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a fertility procedure that injects one sperm into an egg. This technique was introduced in 1992 by Dr. Jean-Pierre Palermo in Belgium.
"Intracytoplasmic" means that something is located inside the cytoplasm of a cell. The cytoplasm is the fluid inside the cell membrane.
Cells consist of the membrane, the cytoplasm and the nucleus. The membrane allows materials to pass into and out of the cell. The nucleus holds the chromosomes, or genetic material.
The cytoplasm is everything between membrane and nucleus. It's made up of amino acids, carbohydrates, fatty acids, ions, nucleic acids, sugars and vitamins. The cytoplasm controls cell expansion, growth and replication of cells.
The first four intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatments resulted in successful pregnancies. ICSI is now routinely implemented in cases of male factor infertility.
ICSI is considered for couples where the man has a low sperm count or poor sperm motility (ability to swim toward the egg), or any abnormality in his sperm. If his ejaculate contains little or no sperm, then sperm can be taken from his testicles.
If other types of in vitro fertilization have been attempted without success, ICSI may be considered.
Men diagnosed with testicular cancer may freeze a sample of semen that can be later used in ICSI.
Fertilization rates with ICSI run between 60 and 70 percent, but a lower percentage of couples will achieve a pregnancy, with about the same rate of success as is found in other types of in vitro fertilization. About 20 to 25 percent of couples will go on to have a healthy baby at the end of the process.
There are concerns surrounding ICSI. The egg can be damaged during injection.
Some sperm are not a good bet genetically speaking. Under normal circumstances, the sperm that unites with the egg is of higher quality than the ones that don't make it. But with ICSI, a sperm may not be genetically healthy and may cause chromosomal abnormalities.