Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a technique in which a single sperm is injected into the centre of an egg. Today, ICSI is the world's favoured fertilisation method for all types of IVF, even though it was developed for the treatment of male infertility. The rate of fertilisation is generally around 90%.
The early stages of ICSI treatment are the same as for conventional IVF. The female partner takes fertility drugs to stimulate her ovaries so that several eggs can be collected. Each egg is injected with a sperm cell such that several embryos will be available for transfer and storage.
Each individual sperm cell is picked up in a tiny needle many times smaller than a human hair before injection. The whole process is visualised through very high magnification microscopes.
Most fertilisations in assisted reproduction at the LWC are now performed with ICSI. Success rates decline in women over 35, but up to that age are as high as 50% per treatment cycle.