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ICSI in IVF: what do you need to know

What is ICSI in IVF, when is it used, ICSI vs. conventional IVF, the effect of ICSI on IVF success rates, and more

September 23, 2023


In the world of fertility treatments, the acronym ICSI is commonly used when speaking about IVF, leaving many people confused about what it means. In this blog, we'll explore the concepts of ICSI and IVF, delve into the differences between ICSI vs conventional IVF, discuss success rates, costs, and much more. Whether you're considering this treatment or simply curious about assisted reproduction, this guide will provide you with valuable insights.

Understanding ICSI and IVF

IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

IVF, or In Vitro Fertilization, is a widely recognized and common fertility treatment. It involves stimulating a woman's ovaries to produce multiple eggs, retrieving those eggs, fertilizing them with sperm outside the body, and then transferring the resulting embryos back into the woman's uterus. IVF is often recommended when couples face infertility due to various factors, such as blocked fallopian tubes, male infertility issues, or unexplained fertility problems.

ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)

ICSI, short for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, is a specialized technique used within the framework of IVF. In ICSI, a single sperm is selected and directly injected into an egg to facilitate fertilization. This method is particularly beneficial when there are male infertility issues, such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or abnormal sperm shape.


Now, let's delve into the differences between ICSI and conventional IVF:

Fertilization Process: The primary distinction lies in the fertilization process. In IVF, sperm and eggs are combined in a dish, and natural fertilization occurs. In contrast, ICSI involves the direct injection of a single sperm into an egg, ensuring fertilization even when sperm quality is compromised.

When to use ICSI 

ICSI is primarily used in IVF cycles for couples with male infertility. There is no strong evidence that demonstrates an increase in live births when ICSI is used without the present male factor, which is also supported by official ASRM (American Society For Reproductive Medicine) guidelines

ICSI IVF Success Rates

Success rates for both ICSI and IVF can vary widely depending on several factors, including the age of the woman, the underlying causes of infertility, and the clinic's expertise. Generally, ICSI may yield higher success rates when male infertility is a contributing factor, as it ensures fertilization. The recent study based on 2020 success rates published by SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology) shows that ICSI brings a significant increase in live-birth rates for patients with male infertility, but there is no statistically significant increase in success rates for patients without male factor infertility:

Multiple studies show that ICSI has no benefits without male factor infertility.


The cost of ICSI IVF can be higher than that of conventional IVF due to the additional labor and expertise required for the ICSI procedure. The average price of ICSI is around $600-3,000, so before you add this to your bill - it is important to evaluate potential benefits versus costs. 


In summary, ICSI is a specialized technique within the IVF framework. The choice between the ICS vs Conventional IVF depends on the specific circumstances and factors contributing to infertility. Generally, ICSI has proven to be an effective technique used in case of male infertility. It's crucial to consult with a reproductive specialist who can evaluate your situation and recommend the most suitable approach. You can find fertility specialists near you using our extensive database.

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