Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is part of an in vitro fertilisation requiring only one sperm which is directly injected into the egg. As the sperm neither has to travel to the egg nor penetrate its outer layers, it can help many men with fertility problems conceive with their partners when other options are not open to them.

When will ICSI be recommended?

Your fertility consultant may suggest ICSI if fertilisation has failed in previous IVF cycles, or if the fertilisation rates have been poor with fewer than 25% of mature eggs being fertilised. It is also the preferred choice where the male sperm count is low, has a low number of normal forms or displays poor motility. ICSI is also an option if a man is unable to get an erection and/or ejaculate as the sperm can be taken from the epididymis or testicle under local anaesthetic using a fine needle.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of ICSI?

During a consultation with London female gynaecogist Miss Amanda Tozer, you will talk through all the pros and cons of ICSI. The primary advantage is that it gives some couples the best chance of conceiving a child where previously their only alternative might be a sperm donor. Another benefit is that sperm can be extracted if necessary; it is not at all uncommon for anxiety to prevent ejaculation on the day. In terms of disadvantages, the increased risks of multiple births and ectopic pregnancies are similar to those associated with standard IVF.

Another important consideration is the quality of the sperm: when a couple naturally conceive, only the strongest sperm make it through the egg’s outer layers.

At her London fertility clinic, Amanda Tozer will talk you through the associated risks and share the latest findings from on-going studies and advise you on pre-treatment screening for genetic problems.