ICSI- Intracystoplasmic Sperm Injection
In the early days of IVF, treatment of couples with male factor infertility (sperm abnormalities) was difficult since poor quality sperm were often unable to fertilize the eggs. In the early 1990's, a new technique for fertilizing eggs at IVF called ICSI was developed. ICSI involves injection of single sperm into an egg, and was successful with all but the most abnormal sperm. Since the development of ICSI, the primary barrier to successful IVF treatment now became egg quality, and couples with only male infertility could expect good outcomes from IVF.
ICSI also opened up new barriers in treating couples with a condition called azoospermia. Azoospermic men have no sperm in their ejaculate but often will have a blockage or still have very small numbers of sperm still in the testes. By fertilizing with ICSI, doctors can now use sperm obtained by biopsy or aspiration (procedures known as surgical sperm retrieval (SSR), TESE, TESA, MESA, PESA) and go on to have families with IVF.