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What is ICSI

ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) is an IVF technique in which a single sperm is injected into the centre of an egg. For around half of couples who are having problems conceiving, the cause of infertility is sperm-related. ICSI is the most common and successful treatment for male infertility. Today, it’s also the world's favoured fertilisation method for all types of IVF treatment. 

How Does ICSI Treatment Work

The early stages of ICSI IVF 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 so that several embryos will be available for transfer and freeze storage. Each individual sperm cell is picked up in a very fine suction needle (many times smaller than a human hair) before injection. The whole process is visualised through very high magnification microscopes.

Who needs ICSI

ICSI can help men with low quality or quantity of sperm by extracting just a few sperm cells from the testis for injection into the egg. The rate of fertilisation with ICSI is generally around 90%, so many clinics use ICSI to guarantee fertilisation. The merits of ICSI may be discussed with you depending on your medical history during your consultation with one of our fertility specialists.  In some cases, the use of ICSI may be decided on the day of fertilisation depending on the quality of the sperm sample collected.

Surgical Sperm Retrieval

There are rare cases of male infertility in which normal sperm production or sperm ejaculation is prevented by an obstruction in the complicated tubal system of the testes. In these cases, provided that motile sperm are being produced, it is possible to retrieve sperm through surgical sperm retrieval which uses a very fine needle to extract sperm directly from the epididymis or the testes.

Alternatively, if no live sperm are found, a sample of tissue (testicular biopsy) can be taken from the testes and examined under a microscope for sperm cells.  Any surgically retrieved sperm cells can then be used to fertilise eggs using the microinjection technique of ICSI.

ICSI Risks

There have been many scientific studies investigating the possibility that birth defects are increased with the use of IVF in general, and ICSI specifically. There is general agreement that further research is necessary before any firm conclusions can be reached, and these studies continue to be done. What is established for certain is that the possibility of birth defects is low in all cases and that the risks are not great. You should, however, be aware of the concerns which will be discussed with your fertility specialist if ICSI is required for your treatment. 

ICSI Success Rates

These statistics show our IVF/ICSI success rates for our individual clinics across the country - those that successfully lead to pregnancy. All pregnancies were confirmed for foetal heartbeat by ultrasound scans. ICSI may give you and your partner a better chance of conceiving when other fertility treatments are unlikely to do so, particularly if there is a history of male infertility or when surgical sperm retrieval is needed.

Under 35

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

February 2017 - January 2018

National average 36%

35-37

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

February 2017 - January 2018

National average 31%

38-39

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

February 2017 - January 2018

National average 24%

40-42

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

February 2017 - January 2018

National average 18%

Over 42

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

February 2017 - January 2018

National average 8%

Three Cycle Package

Package completed 2013

All ages 

No national average available

Under 35

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

35-37

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

38-39

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

40-42

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

Over 42

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

Under 35

Cumulative pregnancy rate per cycle (n=12 Cycles)

March 2016 - February 2018

No national average available

35-37

Cumulative pregnancy rate per cycle (n=20 Cycles)

March 2016 - February 2018

No national average available

38-39

Cumulative pregnancy rate per cycle (n=18 Cycles)

March 2016 - February 2018

No national average available

40-42

Cumulative pregnancy rate per cycle (n=13 Cycles)

March 2016 - February 2018

No national average available

43 and over

Cumulative pregnancy rate per cycle (n=5 Cycles)

March 2016 - February 2018

No national average available

Fresh donor eggs

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

January 2016 - December 2017

National average 44%

Frozen donor eggs

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

January 2016 - December 2017

No national average available

Intra-partner

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred (n=22 Cycles)

February 2017 - January 2018

National average 44%

Egg-sharing (recipient)

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred (n=5 Cycles)

February 2017 - January 2018

National average 44%

Under 35 Natural Cycle

Clinical pregnancy rate (n=21 Cycles)

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

All Ages Natural Cycle

Clinical pregnancy rate (n=49 Cycles)

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

Under 35 Stimulated Cycle

Clinical pregnancy rate (n=32 Cycles)

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

All Ages Stimulated Cycle

Clinical pregnancy rate

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

Under 35 Natural cycle

Clinical pregnancy rate 

February 2017 - January 2018

National average 13%

All Ages Natural Cycle

Clinical pregnancy rate

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

Under 35 Stimulated Cycle

Clinical pregnancy rate 

February 2017 - January 2018

National average 15%

All Ages Stimulated Cycle

Clinical pregnancy rate

February 2017 - January 2018

No national average available

Verified live birth rates are available from the HFEA website. Please note that success rates have limitations as the basis for comparison and personal choice. For further advice, please visit the HFEA's advice pages.  

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