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What is ICSI? 

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a fertilisation method used during in vitro fertilisation (IVF) which involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg. It differs from conventional IVF where many sperm are mixed with the egg for fertilisation, or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), where sperm is directly placed into the uterus to facilitate fertilisation. ICSI increases the chances of fertilisation for some patients. 


Who is ICSI IVF for?

  • Heterosexual cisgendered couples who are having male-factor fertility issues such as such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or abnormal sperm morphology.
  • Heterosexual cisgendered couples where other IVF procedures haven’t been successful yet.
  • Male or AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth) patients who need sperm collected surgically from the testicles or epididymis due to vasectomy or a blockage that prevents sperm reaching the ejaculate.
  • Same-sex female / AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) couples where one partner is hoping to get pregnant using a sperm donor, where other IVF procedures haven't worked.

  • Same-sex male / AMAB couples where other IVF procedures like IUI haven't worked with a surrogate.

Everyone’s fertility journey is personal. Our Care Fertility experts are here to help you understand what the best options for you are.


How much does ICSI IVF cost? 

ICSI is a more expensive option for IVF, it typically costs around £1,395. However, it is not a standalone treatment, so we’ve detailed all the pricings you’ll need to consider for ICSI IVF.

Prices do not include drugs or other optional costs.


IVF£3,450 – £3,750
Elective freeze of embryos (excluding transfer)£2,950 - £3,700
ICSI (in addition to IVF)£1,300 - £1,350

What’s the ICSI IVF process?

The woman or person with ovaries undergoes ovarian stimulation with fertility medications to encourage the development of multiple eggs.

Once the eggs have matured, they are retrieved from the ovaries using a minor surgical procedure called transvaginal ultrasound aspiration.

On the same day as the egg retrieval, sperm is collected from the male/AMAB partner or a sperm donor.

In the ICSI procedure, a single sperm is selected and injected directly into the cytoplasm of each mature egg using a fine glass needle. This bypasses the need for sperm to naturally penetrate the egg's outer layer (zona pellucida).

After the injection, the eggs are incubated in a laboratory to allow fertilisation to take place. The fertilised eggs, now called embryos, are monitored for several days to assess their development.

Typically, after 3 to 5 days of development, the best embryos are selected for transfer into the uterus. This is done using a thin catheter inserted through the cervix.

If the embryo successfully implants in the uterine lining, pregnancy may occur.

After roughly two weeks a pregnancy test is taken. Dependent on the results, those with a positive test are then referring to their doctors.

How successful is ICSI IVF?

ICSI is a very successful method of helping the sperm and the egg fertilise but when it comes to IVF, there are still lots of other factors involved in a successful pregnancy. Other factors such as; age of the woman or AFAB individual and whether they have any fertility challenges. Success rates for ICSI are very similar to IVF.


Common questions about ICSI

Compared to IVF and other fertility treatments, ICSI has slightly more risks. The main risk being to the egg, which may be damaged when they are cleaned and injected with sperm.


From a patient’s point of view, ICSI is much the same as IVF – it is what happens in the laboratory that differs. With IVF, the eggs are put in a petri dish together with several thousand prepared sperm, then left overnight for fertilisation to hopefully occur. With ICSI, each mature egg is injected directly with a single sperm under a high-powered microscope.


Whether IVF or ICSI is used, eggs are incubated in the laboratory overnight and examined the following day for signs of fertilisation.


ICSI is a delicate and precise technique that requires the use of specialist micromanipulation equipment by highly skilled practitioners.


ICSI can only be performed on mature eggs. Usually, we expect about 75% of eggs to be mature.


ICSI maximises the chances of fertilisation where there is known to be an issue with sperm quality or quantity. Over 90% of couples having IVF treatment with ICSI will achieve fertilisation of some of their eggs. Fertilisation cannot be absolutely guaranteed because numerous factors affect this, including egg number and quality.


The embryologists choose the sperm that are the most motile (best swimmers) and which look the most normal shape.


The injection technique may sometimes damage individual eggs. The overall damage rate is low (below 5% of eggs injected) but may be higher for individual patients, depending on egg quality.

Treatment add ons



 Pre-implantation testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) can be carried out on embryos created during an IVF cycle to test that they have the correct number of chromosomes needed for a successful pregnancy, reducing the risk of miscarriage.


Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT-M) allows us to test embryos before transfer if you know you are at high-risk of passing on a specific single gene disorder such as Cystic Fibrosis.


For people with a chromosome structural rearrangement also called a translocation, PGT-SR (Preimplantation Genetic Testing for chromosomal structural rearrangements) can be performed to improve the chance of establishing a healthy pregnancy.

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At Care Fertility we deliver truly exceptional patient care, our dedicated teams are on hand to support you at every stage of your fertility journey.
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Transparency of language disclaimer

“In our content, you’ll find us using the term 'woman' in reference to individuals going through this fertility treatment. However, we acknowledge that not all individuals who go through fertility treatment identify as women. We recognise and respect the diversity of gender identities and expressions, and we strive to create inclusive content that reflects this understanding.


It's important to note that pregnancy and parenthood can be experienced by people of all genders, including transgender men, non-binary individuals, and others who may not identify within the traditional binary understanding of gender.


Feel free to let us know if there’s alternative terms, we should be using to make sure you feel acknowledged.”