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ICSI, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, makes fatherhood possible for men with low sperm counts

Sperm is just as important as the egg when it comes to conception. For fertilization to occur, there must be enough motile, or moving, sperm to bind to and penetrate an egg. This becomes much more difficult when a man has poor sperm quality or a very low sperm count. However, there is hope in the form of IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection, also known as ICSI.

Your Austin fertility doctor at Texas Fertility Center will explain every step of this fertility treatment. In the meantime, you can learn more from this section of our website.

Who is a good candidate for intracytoplasmic sperm injection?

Our team will decide whether to perform ICSI about four to six hours after your partner’s egg retrieval procedure. Your Austin fertility doctor and members of our IVF laboratory will consider the following factors when making this decision.

  • Your semen parameters, including your sperm count, motility (movement), morphology (shape) and the presence of antisperm antibodies
  • How many eggs your doctor retrieved from your partner
  • The results of any previous IVF cycles
  • Whether or not you have chosen to have your embryos chromosomally tested before embryo transfer

If our team decides that intracytoplasmic sperm injection is right for you, we will prepare the sperm and follow a series of steps to achieve fertilization.

How does ICSI work?

Our andrologists will first process the sperm to achieve an optimal concentration for fertilization.

  • They will initially wash the sperm with a special solution.
  • Next, our andrologists will place the sperm in a centrifuge to concentrate the sperm and separate them from the other components of semen.
  • They will then resuspend the sperm in more of the same special solution while discarding the remaining seminal fluid.

Once the sperm are prepared, an embryologist will remove the cumulus complexes that surround each egg. Doing so allows the embryologists to visually determine which eggs have reached maturity and have the capacity to be fertilized. Removing these cells also allows the embryologists to more successfully perform intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

After the sperm have been processed and the eggs have been prepared, the embryologists will observe each egg under a microscope. Then, they will draw a single sperm into a needle and inject it directly into the cytoplasm of the egg. After injecting the egg with the sperm, our team returns the injected eggs to the incubator for 16 to 18 hours. At that point, our team will check for signs of fertilization.

If you’d like to learn more about how treatments like IVF and ICSI can help you welcome a baby, contact us to schedule an appointment with an Austin fertility doctor at TFC. We look forward to helping you on your path to parenthood.