Intracytosplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a fertilization method used for a variety of conditions and involves the injection of a single sperm into the cytoplasm of a mature egg using microscopic guidance. ICSI involves the direct injection of a single sperm into the interior of an egg using an extremely thin glass needle.
The use of ICSI provides an effective treatment for male factor or unexplained infertility. The negative effects of abnormal semen characteristics and sperm quality on fertilization can be overcome with ICSI if viable sperm are available because the technique bypasses the shell around the egg (zona pellucida) and the egg membrane (oolemma) to deliver the sperm directly into the egg. ICSI allows couples with male factor infertility to achieve fertilization and live birth rates close to those achieved with in vitro fertilization (IVF) using conventional methods of fertilization in men with normal sperm counts. ICSI can be performed even in men with no sperm in the ejaculate if sperm can be successfully collected from the epididymis or the testis.
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