— ICSI, IMSI and PICSI

Aevitas Fertilic Clinic – responsible for the 1st ICSI baby in South Africa (1995).

ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) is a form of fertility treatment that involves the selection and injection of a single sperm directly into an egg in order to fertilise it. This does not guarantee fertilisation, but the chances are significantly higher. The rest of the procedure is similar to IVF and the fertilised egg can then be transferred to the female partner’s womb.

Recent laboratory techniques include IMSI (intra-cytoplasmic morphologically-selected sperm injection) and PICSI (Preselective intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection)

During IMSI, a very high magnification microscope is used to improve sperm selection. PICSI, is a laboratory technique by which mature sperm are selected for ICSI by binding to a substance called hyaluronan. This technique aims to select the optimal sperm, in turn increasing the pregnancy rate and decreasing the miscarriage rate.

When is ICSI appropriate?

ICSI is used when:

  • The male partner has a very low sperm count, if the sperm are not very active (low sperm motility) or a low percentage of sperm have a normal shape (low morphology).
  • The male partner does not produce sperm and sperm has been collected from the testicles (testis biopsy).
  • Previous IVF cycles have failed.