Midwest Reproductive Center


ICSI, with in vitro fertilization (IVF), helps with male infertility

In 1992, ICSI, or intracytoplasmic sperm injection, was used successfully for the first time. This procedure represented a breakthrough in fertility treatment because it allowed fertility specialists like Dr. Dan Gehlbach to help men overcome serious male factor infertility problems.

ICSI treats the problem of sperm that cannot penetrate the egg without help. During this procedure, a single sperm from the male’s semen sample or his testicles is injected directly into the egg using a microscopic needle. The fertilized egg grows in the IVF lab for a period of one to five days. Then, the doctor transfers it to the woman’s uterus.

Who benefits from ICSI?

Men who have sperm-related problems benefit from this technology. If a man is experiencing the following issues, ICSI may be the answer.

  • Too little or no sperm
  • Sperm that is not good quality
  • Sperm that has poor movement (motility)
  • Situations when sperm is retrieved from the bladder because of retrograde ejaculation (when semen goes into the bladder instead of ejaculating from the penis)

ICSI can also be employed to help couples who have other infertility issues that may not involve male factor infertility.

  • IVF has not worked in the past, even if there are no problems with the male’s sperm.
  • Couples intend to have their embryo undergo genetic testing to check for genetic disorders. ICSI selects only one sperm, eliminating the chance that the test could be contaminated by other sperm.

The ICSI procedure

Sperm is obtained through masturbation unless there are problems that require surgical intervention, in which case sperm is removed through a small incision in the testicles. These include cases where:

  • Sperm is blocked and cannot be ejaculated.
  • There is a problem with sperm development.
  • Genetic testing is being planned for the couple’s embryo.

Once Dr. Gehlbach obtains the sperm sample, one sperm is chosen to fertilize each egg.

How effective is ICSI?

When ICSI is employed, it results in fertilization of 50 to 80% of eggs. However, there are some risks that can occur with the procedure.

  • Possible damage to the eggs
  • The possibility that the egg may not develop into an embryo even after ICSI

If the male being treated has little or no sperm in his semen (not due to a blockage), it is recommended that he undergo genetic testing before moving forward with ICSI.

If you and your partner are experiencing infertility problems, contact us at Midwest Reproductive Center to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dan Gehlbach. We will help you determine what your fertility issues might be, and we will devise a treatment plan that uses techniques like ICSI and IVF to help you create your family.