What Is ICSI?

ICSI is an acronym for IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection.

It is a procedure where a single sperm cell is manually injected directly into an unfertilized egg. ICSI is performed by highly skilled embryologist using very sensitive tools called micromanipulators to inject the sperm via tiny pipettes known as microinjectors. The procedure is performed with the assistance of an inverted microscope built into a specialized anti-vibration table.

Embryologists usually perform sperm selection by observing the sperm at high magnification and then choose sperm cells that have a strong forward progression to their movement (motility), as well as normal head shape and form (morphology). Occasionally and in the absence of motile, normal sperms, other forms of sperms including non-motile and immature sperms could be used as could be obtained during sperm surgical extraction techniques.

When Is ICSI Used?


Male Infertility

ICSI was actually conceived and developed to treat male infertility! Research has shown that about 30% of all infertility cases are due to male factor infertility. Conceiving a child requires only a single healthy sperm cell to reach and successfully penetrate the egg. Infertility therefore sometimes occurs either when the sperm fails to reach the egg or on reaching the egg, fails to penetrate the barrier around the egg (the zona pellucida), or fails to achieve fertilization of the egg.

Failed IVF Cycle

Other extended indications for use of ICSI include Previous failed IVF attempts with standard IVF procedures. In such cases, ICSI has been shown in numerous studies to increase fertilization rate, and this can therefore improve pregnancy outcomes for patients. The other indication is in some cases of poor Ovarian Reserve or where very few eggs are available. In such cases, ICSI may be used simply to increase the likelihood of fertilization and thence success.

It is worth mentioning that as many as 85% of eggs that are injected via ICSI achieve fertilization.

Pregnancy Success With ICSI?

ICSI has had unbelievable success in treating male factor infertility, greatly increasing the probability of fertilization and then pregnancy.

In cases of extreme male infertility like complete absence of sperms [Azospermia], it is often still possible for an experienced embryologist to identify non-motile and/or immature sperms following testicular surgical procedures to use in ICSI thereby achieving fertilization and pregnancy. This is a breakthrough treatment as no fertilization could otherwise have been achieved in such cases.

Rarely where no male factor issues are identified, ICSI can sometimes be used to enhance the likelihood of successful fertilization and pregnancy following repeated failed standard IVF procedures. This is thought to be due to ‘forced’ fertilization achieved with ICSI compared to standard IVF.


At the moment in ReGENESIS, the cost is N480,000 (Four Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira) excluding the cost of drugs.


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