Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a technique used to inject a single sperm into an egg. A standard IVF cycle is undertaken and when the eggs are mixed with sperm then ICSI is performed instead of conventional insemination of eggs.

ICSI requires a high level of skill and is performed in the laboratory by a trained embryologist. ICSI has transformed the chances of successful conception for couples where male factor problems predominate.

ICSI is usually recommended if the sperm count is low or if the motility and morphology is notably poor. Standard IVF cycles that have resulted in low levels of egg fertilisation also may benefit from this technique. If sperm parameters are normal then there may be no benefit to use this technique and will just increase costs.


Cost of ICSI

In the UK, the cost of undertaking ICSI begins at around £5000 excluding medication and HFEA fees. This varies greatly across the UK and also depends heavily on your personal requirements.


History of ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)

1990 – ICSI is developed at the Vrije University in Brussels by Dr. Gianpiero Palermo

1990 – Activated embryo produced by ICSI (the embryo developed but was not transferred)

1991 – Dr. Palermo accomplishes the first successful pregnancy using ICSI

1992 – First successful ICSI birth happens in January

1993 to present day – ICSI techniques continue to be perfected and utilised when sperm deficiencies are discovered to be the primary factor interfering with a couple’s ability to conceive naturally.


Overview of the Development of ICSI by Dr. Palermo

Pregnancies after intracytoplasmic injection of single spermatozoon into an oocyte


Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a promising assisted-fertilisation technique that may benefit women who have not become pregnant by in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) or subzonal insemination (SUZI) of oocytes. We have used ICSI to treat couples with infertility because of severely impaired sperm characteristics, and in whom IVF and SUZI had failed. Direct injection of a single spermatozoon into the ooplasm was done in 47 metaphase-II oocytes: 38 oocytes remained intact after injection, 31 became fertilised, and 15 embryos were replaced in utero. Four pregnancies occurred after eight treatment cycles–two singleton and one twin pregnancy, and a preclinical abortion. Two healthy boys have been delivered from the singleton pregnancies and a healthy boy and girl from the twin pregnancy.


G Palermo, H Joris, P Devroey, A C Van Steirteghem