ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is a procedure that can be done in conjunction with IVF (in vitro fertilization) to increase its chances of success. In ICSI, a single, healthy sperm is injected into a mature egg using a very small needle. It is used to overcome male infertility. In cases where a man has a low sperm count, low sperm motility, or poor sperm morphology, ICSI eliminates the need for the sperm to find the egg by itself. A technician in a lab does the dirty work for it.
But how successful is ICSI? One must look closely at the statistics so as to be misled by the numbers. The success rate for ICSI is currently 70-80%. It is important to note that this is rate that the procedure results in fertilization of the egg only. After this part of the procedure is done you must still go through the embryo transfer and implantation portion of IVF which, as we know, has a much lower success rate. Make sure you are reading the data as live birth rates vs conception rates. However, the good news is that the success rate for IVF when done with ICSI is slightly higher than when done without. This is 25-25% in women under 35.
Of course there are other factors that determine the success rate of ICSI, and none more prevalently than the experience and expertise of the clinic and technician performing the procedure. Compared to IVF, this is a relatively new procedure so we just don’t have as much long-term data yet for it. But the techniques are improving all the time and as the knowledge and understanding of the science grows, so will the success stories