What is ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)?

If you’re on the journey to parenthood and facing challenges conceiving, you’ve likely explored a variety of options. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), often dubbed “test tube babies”, is a well-known approach, but there’s a lesser-known, yet incredibly effective method that could be your answer: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, or ICSI. In this article, our fertility clinic in Bangkok will walk you through the intricacies of ICSI, how it works, who it’s for, and what to expect.


What is ICSI and Why is it Used?

ICSI, is a technique used in IVF, and its primary mission is to help couples facing male infertility issues. The core concept of ICSI is to inject a single live sperm directly into an egg, kickstarting the journey to conception. It is a more precise way of achieving fertilization. IVF, on the other hand, relies more on chance, where thousands of sperm are placed near an egg, hoping that one will hit the mark.

ICSI is a groundbreaking assisted reproductive technology designed to tackle the hurdles that conventional IVF methods sometimes can’t surmount. It helps in cases where male partners deal with low sperm count, sluggish sperm motility, or other sperm-related issues. ICSI is also a ray of hope for women facing uterus-related problems. This includes those who’ve had hysterectomies, dealt with blocked fallopian tubes, are at an advanced age, or struggle with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Here’s how ICSI works: Skilled scientists select the healthiest, most viable eggs and sperm. Then, using a delicate needle, they introduce the sperm right into the heart of the egg, its cytoplasm. This intimate union sets the stage for the creation of an embryo, which is subsequently nestled back into your uterus, giving that embryo a warm home to grow. 

ICSI significantly ups your odds of success compared to other methods.

The ART Behind ICSI

Both ICSI and traditional IVF are part of the assisted reproductive technology (ART) family, designed to tackle infertility. These techniques take the complex processes of fertilization and early embryo development outside of the human body and into the controlled environment of a laboratory.

Who Needs ICSI?

ICSI is a potential solution for individuals experiencing male infertility problems. You might be a candidate for ICSI if you or your partner fall into any of the below categories:

  • Couples who have not achieved natural pregnancy success (difficulty conceiving).
  • Men with very weak sperm characteristics including shape, motility, and quantity.
  • Men who have had a vasectomy or are born with a condition preventing sperm release, but can still obtain sperm surgically (e.g., through PESA, TESE).
  • Women with both blocked fallopian tubes.
  • Women with ovulation disorder. 
  • Individuals with genetic abnormalities.
  • Couples who have previously not succeeded with traditional IVF methods.
  • Couples wanting genetic screening using NGS. 

How Does ICSI Work at Our Fertility Clinic in Bangkok?

Wondering about the actual procedure? Let’s break it down:

ICSI is a solution designed to address the shortcomings of traditional IVF and dramatically enhances the prospects of success in cases where the odds seem stacked against us.

It all starts with the careful selection of a single mature egg and a robust, healthy sperm. This precision is achieved with the aid of a tiny microneedle, expertly injecting the sperm directly into the egg’s cytoplasm. Following this intricate procedure, the embryo is nurtured for up to six days, a phase aptly named Day 6, to ensure optimal development. Subsequently, the embryo is gently placed back into the uterus, where the journey of pregnancy continues. During this pivotal moment, the physician faces a choice – whether to perform a fresh embryo transfer or opt for freezing.

If the decision leans towards frozen embryo transfer, the embryos typically go into deep freeze on Day 5-6, although there may be exceptions where Day 2-3 is deemed suitable, contingent on the quality of the embryo.

As for fresh embryo transfer, it’s typically carried out after the ICSI procedure, typically on Day 5-6. However, should the quality of the embryo raise concerns, a Day 3 transfer might be the chosen path. Furthermore, to stack the odds in favor of a successful infertility treatment and to guarantee the embryo’s absolute completeness, at our fertility clinic in Bangkok we highly recommend the incorporation of “Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Testing”. 

Why is NGS Important?

  1. Spotting the Unseen: NGS helps us identify any abnormalities in embryos before they’re implanted, slashing the likelihood of future miscarriages due to unforeseen issues in the baby’s genetic makeup.
  2. Minimizing Heartache: By decreasing the rate of miscarriages or terminations tied to embryo abnormalities, we’re paving the way for a smoother journey to parenthood.
  3. Pursuit of Perfection: NGS enables us to attain 100% accuracy in preimplantation genetic testing, ensuring that the selected embryos are robust and healthy.
  4. Boosting the Odds: With NGS, the chances of a successful pregnancy increase by a remarkable 60-80%.

Who Should Consider Genetic Screening?

  • Those who’ve endured multiple unsuccessful IVF attempts with an unknown cause.
  • Women who have grappled with the pain of recurrent miscarriages.
  • Ladies aged 38 and above who are venturing into the world of motherhood.
  • Individuals who have previously experienced pregnancies affected by chromosomal abnormalities, like Down syndrome.
  • And for those who fall into the category of advanced maternal age, or are concerned about Down syndrome, ICSI might just be the beacon of hope you’ve been waiting for.

Navigating Risks and Rewards

Like any medical procedure, ICSI has its set of benefits and potential risks. ICSI can be a game-changer for individuals with male fertility issues, significantly increasing the chances of achieving parenthood. Some clinics even use ICSI for all couples, regardless of the infertility diagnosis.

Of course, there are risks involved, such as potential damage to the eggs during needle penetration or the rare event of an egg not fertilizing after the sperm injection. However, the overall risk of birth defects or congenital conditions due to ICSI is relatively low, accounting for around 1% of children conceived through this method.

ICSI vs. IVF: Which is Right for You?

Both ICSI and traditional IVF are powerful tools in the world of assisted reproductive technology, each with its unique advantages. The choice between them depends on individual circumstances and fertility diagnosis.

Recovery and outcomes can vary depending on the specifics of your IVF procedure. But the bottom line is, ICSI has the potential to be a life-changing experience for those on the fertility journey.

If you are considering ICSI, contact the specialists at our fertility clinic in Bangkok to see how we can help:

Expert Team: We have a team of highly experienced specialized doctors to guide you.

Cutting-Edge Technology: We invest in modern medical technology and equipment for maximum success rates.

Global Expertise:  Our teams undergo training worldwide, ensuring you benefit from the latest advancements in reproductive science. 



Dr. Thitikorn Wanichkul, M.D.

Expertise: Obstetrics-Gynecology, Gynecologic Laparoscopic Surgery, Infertility Treatment

Dr. Thitikorn Wanichkul, M.D.

Expertise: Obstetrics-Gynecology, Gynecologic Laparoscopic Surgery, Infertility Treatment