Doctors may recommend ICSI to treat many causes of infertility, especially when there is a problem with the sperm, such as low motility (movement) or a low sperm count. ICSI is especially useful in cases where the sperm cannot penetrate the female’s egg naturally or if the sperm are abnormally shaped.
The male partner will be asked to provide a semen sample, which will be collected by masturbation at the doctor’s office. Two to three days before, the male should abstain from sex and masturbation in order to maximize semen quality. The sperm are then evaluated by the doctor and the healthiest sperm will be selected for the ICSI procedure.
After the eggs and sperm are collected, the ICSI process takes place in the lab where the doctor or embryologist injects a single sperm into the cytoplasm (center) of each egg. After the eggs have been injected, the doctor or embryologist will observe the eggs for a day or so.
If the procedure is a success and fertilization occurs, the doctor will discuss the number of embryos to be transferred to the partner’s uterine cavity. The transfer procedure is relatively simple and takes only a few minutes.
The doctor will place a speculum inside the vagina, insert a small catheter through the cervix into the uterine cavity, and transfer the embryos through the catheter. The patient may experience minimal discomfort from the transfer.
A pregnancy blood test will be performed about two weeks after the embryo transfer. The patient will be called with the results a few days after the blood test.