Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), with Video


This video shows a well animated 3D, of how ICSI works

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI, pronounced “eeksee” or “icksy”) is an in vitro fertilization procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg.


This procedure is most commonly used to overcome male infertility problems, although it may also be used where eggs cannot easily be penetrated by sperm, and occasionally as a method of in vitro fertilization, especially that associated with sperm donation.

It can be used in teratozoospermia. Once the egg is fertilized, abnormal sperm morphology does not appear to influence blastocyst development or blastocyst morphology.Even with severe teratozoospermia, microscopy can still detect the few sperm cells that have a “normal” morphology, allowing for optimal success rate.


The technique was developed by Gianpiero Palermo around 1991 at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in the Center for Reproductive Medicine headed by Paul Devroey and Andre Van Steirteghem.The first large experience with the technique in the United States was published by Joseph D. Schulman and colleagues at Genetics and IVF Institute in 1995.


ICSI procedure

The procedure is done under a microscope using multiple micromanipulation devices (micromanipulator, microinjectors and micropipettes). A holding pipette (on the left of picture) stabilizes the mature oocyte with gentle suction applied by a microinjector. From the opposite side a thin, hollow glass micropipette is used to collect a single sperm, having immobilised it by cutting its tail with the point of the micropipette. The micropipette is pierced through the oolemma and into the inner part of the oocyte (cytoplasm). The sperm is then released into the oocyte. The pictured oocyte has an extruded polar body at about 12 o’clock indicating its maturity. After the procedure, the oocyte will be placed into cell culture and checked on the following day for signs of fertilization.

In natural fertilization sperm compete and when the first sperm penetrates the oolemma, the oolemma hardens to block the entry of any other sperm. Concern has been raised that in ICSI this sperm selection process is bypassed and the sperm is selected by the embryologist without any specific testing. However, in mid 2006 the FDA cleared a device that allows embryologists to select mature sperm for ICSI based on sperm binding to hyaluronan, the main constituent of the gel layer (cumulus oophorus) surrounding the oocyte. The device provides microscopic droplets of hyaluronan hydrogel attached to the culture dish. The embryologist places the prepared sperm on the microdot, selects and captures sperm that bind to the dot. Basic research on the maturation of sperm shows that hyaluronan-binding sperm are more mature and show fewer DNA strand breaks and significantly lower levels of aneuploidy than the sperm population from which they were selected. A brand name for one such sperm selection device is PICSI.

‘Washed’ or ‘unwashed’ sperm may be used in the process.

Success or failure factors

Potential factors that may influence pregnancy rates (and live birth rates) in ICSI include level of DNA fragmentation as measured e.g. by Comet assay, advanced maternal age and semen quality.

ICSI as a treatment of Sertoli Cell Only Syndrome (Germ Cell Aplasia)

Testicular sperm extraction (TESE) may be offered to couples considering in vitro fertilization (IVF)/ICSI.

At specialty centers, as many as 20%-40% of men with SCO syndrome may have isolated foci of spermatogenesis within the testis; however, the option of using donor sperm must be discussed with the couple. At most centers, sperm recovery rates are much lower.

TESE is a testis biopsy performed with the intent of finding mature sperm within the seminiferous tubules. Multiple and extensive biopsies are typically required when SCO syndrome is present. Because spermatogenesis may be patchy within the testis, occasional pockets of isolated sperm production may be identified, even when the predominant histopathology finding is SCO syndrome.


There is some suggestion that birth defects are increased with the use of IVF in general, and ICSI specifically, though results of different studies differ. In a summary position paper, the Practice Committee of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine has said it considers ICSI safe and effective therapy for male factor infertility, but may carry an increased risk for the transmission of selected genetic abnormalities to offspring, either through the procedure itself or through the increased inherent risk of such abnormalities in parents undergoing the procedure.

At specialty centers, as many as 20%-40% of men with SCO syndrome may have isolated foci of spermatogenesis within the testis; however, the option of using donor sperm must be discussed with the couple. At most centers, sperm recovery rates are much lower.

Religious objections

The Roman Catholic Church, under the papacy of Benedict XVI, has condemned the practice of intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in the magisterial instruction Dignitas Personae because it causes a complete separation between the marital act and childbearing.


For more information you might want to visit the reference links below.



About yuan ade sukma, MD

I'm an Indonesian doctor. I Believe that science and knowledge do not belong to anyone in the world. Science and knowledge is meant to be shared to make the world a better place to live. But if you find any material posted here is violating any copyrights, feel free to contact me and I will delete that. I believe that someday my blog can change the world. I BELIEVE in the POWER of WORDS! Do you..?
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One Response to Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), with Video

  1. Pingback: Sperm Disorders, Causes, and Treatments | yuanadesukma

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