Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Steps Involved in IVF:

Procedure Description

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is an advanced form of in vitro fertilization (IVF) designed to treat severe cases of male infertility. The procedure involves the direct injection of a single sperm into an egg to facilitate fertilization. This is particularly useful for couples who have been unsuccessful with other forms of assisted reproductive technologies. In standard IVF, multiple sperm are placed near an egg, leaving the fertilization process to occur naturally within the laboratory dish. However, for men with a very low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or abnormal sperm shape, the chances of a sperm fertilizing the egg on its own are significantly reduced. That's where ICSI comes into play.

ICSI has revolutionized infertility treatments for men. It is commonly recommended when other fertilization methods have failed, or there is a need to preserve the integrity of the egg due to previous instances of damage. The procedure is also frequently utilized in cases where preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is required. For couples experiencing difficulty in conceiving due to male infertility, ICSI offers a viable path to biological parenthood that might otherwise be unattainable.

The need for ICSI is generally determined after comprehensive fertility tests are carried out on both partners. Physicians usually recommend it after analyzing the specific circumstances affecting a couple's ability to conceive. This procedure enables many couples to conceive a child when they may have no other viable medical alternatives.

Procedure Duration

The ICSI procedure itself is relatively quick, lasting about 15-30 minutes, and is performed as part of an IVF cycle. However, it's important to understand that ICSI is a single step in a larger, more extended IVF process. The entire IVF cycle, which includes egg retrieval, sperm collection, fertilization, and embryo transfer, can take about 4-6 weeks.

Recovery time for men is minimal since sperm can often be collected through ejaculation. For women, the egg retrieval process could require a few days of rest. After the embryo transfer, it usually takes about two weeks to confirm pregnancy through a blood test. However, it's recommended to plan for some downtime during this period, particularly if you're traveling from another country for the procedure.

It's also essential to factor in preliminary tests and consultations, which can add additional weeks to the overall timeline. The complete journey from initial consultation to pregnancy confirmation may take several months, making it vital to prepare for both the time commitment and the emotional toll that the infertility treatment process can demand.


  • Cost Savings: Medical tourism for ICSI can result in substantial cost savings compared to undergoing the procedure in your home country.
  • Expertise: Some countries specialize in fertility treatments and offer skilled professionals with extensive experience in ICSI.
  • Advanced Technology: Choosing a destination known for its cutting-edge medical technology can give you access to the latest advancements in infertility treatment.

Potential Destinations

  • India: Known for high-quality healthcare at affordable prices.
  • Spain: Renowned for its expertise in fertility treatments.
  • Thailand: Offers state-of-the-art medical facilities and technology.

Risks & Considerations

  • Legal Regulations: Fertility laws vary by country; make sure the procedure is legal and regulated in your chosen destination.
  • Travel Risks: Consider the risks of traveling post-procedure, especially for women who have just undergone embryo transfer.
  • Quality of Care: Research the quality and reputation of the medical facilities and ensure they meet international standards.

How to Choose the Right Doctor and Hospital

  • Accreditation: Check if the hospital is accredited by international healthcare accreditation bodies.
  • Doctor's Credentials: Research the qualifications, experience, and reviews of the doctor who will perform the procedure.
  • Consultation: It's advisable to have a detailed consultation with the doctor before going ahead with the procedure.

To receive a free quote for this procedure please click on the link:

Patients are advised to seek hospitals that are accredited by Global Healthcare and only work with medical tourism facilitators who are certified by Global Healthcare Accreditation or who have undergone certification from the Certified Medical Travel Professionals (CMTP). This ensures that the highest standards in the industry are met. GHA accredits the top hospitals in the world. These are the best hospitals in the world for quality and providing the best patient experience. Click the link to check out hospitals accredited by the Global Healthcare Accreditation:

Frequently Asked Questions

What actually happens during hyperstimulation of the ovaries?

The patient will take injectable FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) for eight to eleven days, depending on how long the follicles take to mature. This hormone is produced naturally in a woman’s body causing one egg to develop per cycle. Taking the injectable FSH causes several follicles to develop at once, at approximately the same rate. The development is monitored with vaginal ultrasounds and following the patient’s levels of estradiol and progesterone. FSH brand names include Repronex, Follistim, Menopur, Gonal-F and Bravelle. The patient injects herself daily.

What happens during egg retrieval?

When the follicles have developed enough to be harvested, the patient attends an appointment  where she is anesthetized and prepared for the procedure. Next, the doctor uses an ultrasound probe to guide a needle through the vaginal wall and into the follicle of the ovary. The thin needle draws the follicle fluid, which is then examined by an embryologist to find the eggs. The whole process takes about 20 minutes.

What happens to the eggs?

In the next step, the harvested eggs are then fertilized. If the sperm from the potential father, or in some cases, anonymous donor, has normal functionality, the eggs and sperm are placed together in a dish with a nutrient fluid, then incubated overnight to fertilize normally. If the sperm functionality is suboptimal, an embryologist uses Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection to inject a single sperm into a single egg with an extremely precise glass needle.  Once fertilization is complete, the embryos are assessed and prepared to be transferred to the patient’s uterus.

How are the embryos transferred back to the uterus?

The doctor and the patient will discuss the number of embryos to be transferred. The number of successfully fertilized eggs usually determines the number of eggs to be placed in the uterus. Embryos are transferred to the uterus with transabdominal ultrasound guidance. This process does not require anesthesia, but it can cause minor cervical or uterine discomfort. Following transfer, the patient is advised to take at least one days bed rest and two or three additional days of rest, then 10 to 12 days later, two pregnancy tests are scheduled to confirm success. Once two positive tests are completed, an obstetrical ultrasound is ordered to show the sac, fetal pole, yolk sac and fetal heart rate.


Built into this technology there is a microscope with a powerful camera that allows the uninterrupted monitoring of the embryo during its first hours of life. In this way, we can keep a close eye on the embryo, from the moment when the oocyte is inseminated and begins to divide into smaller and smaller cells, until it can be transferred to the uterus.

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