Newcastle Fertility Centre

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

In some circumstances, usually because of very low sperm counts, conventional IVF treatment will be unlikely to succeed because fertilisation will probably not occur.

An alternative treatment is now available which offers you a chance of pregnancy. Pregnancy rates similar to those of conventional IVF are achieved.

The treatment you receive will be exactly the same as that described in our information about IVF treatment. After the eggs and sperm have been collected, a single sperm will be drawn up into a very small pipette and then injected directly into the middle of the egg. The egg will be looked at the next day to see if fertilisation has occurred, and if successful we will transfer the embryo(s) to the womb in the usual way. There is a small chance (about 10%) that the egg will be damaged by this injection process and this egg would then not develop.


New technique

Many babies have been born after being conceived by this method and there is no conclusive evidence that they have a higher rate of abnormality than IVF children. However, it is a very new technique and the children born have not yet reached maturity. There is theoretically a very small risk that infertility could be passed on to a male child. We will discuss this in more detail with you in the clinic.


Occasionally, some men produce no sperm at all. We now have a technique where sperm can be taken directly from the testicle or surrounding tubes (surgical sperm retrieval). This is done using either a local or general anaesthetic. The sperm would be injected into the egg by the ICSI method to achieve fertilisation. If you need surgical sperm retrieval, it will be discussed with you fully at the clinic.


If you have any questions, we would be happy to answer them when you come to the clinic. 

Contact us

For more information about any of our services, please contact us.

© Copyright Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2020 Site by TH_NK