Nashville Fertility

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) an Option to Treat Male Infertility

For nearly half of all couples experiencing infertility, a problem with sperm quality and/or quantity exists. Sperm disorders may include reduced sperm numbers, motility defects, or abnormal shape and appearance (morphology). The presence of sperm antibodies or failure of sperm to undergo changes that enable them to penetrate/fertilize eggs also hinder conception (capacitation or acrosome reaction).

Eggs may be impenetrable due to the presence of antisperm antibodies or to abnormalities of their outer layers. Most of these problems can be overcome through IVF by placing a high number of sperm close to each egg. However, these sperm must be capable of achieving fertilization. When fertilization is not possible through regular IVF, assisted fertilization by Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is possible.

The Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI technique

The Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI technique involves the direct injection of a single live sperm into the center of a mature egg. Since 1991, this technique has revolutionized the treatment of couples with even severe male factor problems.

Candidates for ICSI are those couples who have failed fertilization in previous IVF cycles, or who have a very low sperm count, motility or penetration testing. Most of the time, ejaculated sperm is used for this technique. Even the small numbers of sperm retrieved directly from the epididymis (MESA) or testes (TESA or TESE) can be used. Our patients have shown an average fertilization rate of about 65% following ICSI, but for individual patients this number can vary from 0% to 100%. Once the eggs are fertilized following ICSI, their development is no different from embryos fertilized during standard IVF and the chance for pregnancy is the same.


(615) 321-4740