The principle of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is similar to that of the in-vitro fertilisation, since in this case the egg cell is also fertilised in a Petri dish. The substantial difference is that in the case of the ICSI a sperm cell is directly injected into the egg cell.
The egg cell is fixed using a pipette while being visually observed under the microscope and the sperm cell is directly injected into the egg cell through the zona pellucida by means of a hollow needle. This process facilitates the fertilisation many times over and also enables fertilisation even if the semen results are poor. Then the fertilised eggs can develop in a special incubator before they are transferred into the uterus after 2-5 days.
Thanks to the special Timelapse camera which records images of the embryos at regular intervals, the embryo that has developed best can be chosen for this purpose and therefore has the best chances for successful implantation.
A clear indication for an ICSI is a poor semen result of the male partner. If too few healthy sperm cells are available, if they display reduced motility or feature an increased deformity rate, an intracytoplasmic sperm injection may the optimum treatment option.
In the case of blocked vas deferens or of a congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens, or if no sperms are found in the ejaculate, the semen can be extracted from the testicles or epididymis by means of a small surgical procedure. By a TESE (testicular sperm extraction) or TESA (testicular sperm aspiration).
The subsequent preparation in the embryology laboratory serves to sort out sperm cells of a poor quality. The healthy sperm cells pass through the crucial maturation process and can therefore be fertilised. This treatment approach makes it possible for the man to father a child with his genetic material.
Sperm cells which are no longer required for the moment are frozen in our institute and can thus be resorted to for another fertilisation process at a later time.