Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) used to treat sperm-related infertility problems. ICSI is used to enhance the fertilization phase of in vitro fertilization (IVF) by injecting a single sperm into a mature egg.
The process of ICSI revolutionized the treatment of male infertility. For a single sperm to penetrate an egg you require about 200,000 active and normal sperms surrounding that single egg. This means if you have 10 eggs then you will require about 2 million of such sperm or there would likely be no fertilization. Men with severely low sperm count therefore had to depend on donor sperm. With ICSI you only need a few sperm. Each sperm is isolated and injected into each matured egg.
The first ICSI pregnancy and delivery was in 1992, compared with 1978 for IVF. Therefore, since the children conceived via ICSI are still under intense observation and monitoring until enough evidence for its safety exists, it is recommended that the technology should not be applied indiscriminately. This is more so as all available studies suggest the same pregnancy rates for IVF and ICSI. It is equally important to note that patients for ICSI, still undergo the same clinical process as those for IVF.