ICSI is very similar to conventional IVF in that eggs and sperm are collected from each partner. The difference between the two procedures is the method of achieving fertilization.
In conventional IVF, the eggs and sperm are mixed together in a dish and the sperm fertilizes the egg naturally. However to have a chance that this will occur, large numbers of actively swimming normal sperm are required. For many couples, the number of suitable sperm available may be very limited or there may be other factors preventing fertilization, so conventional IVF is not an option. ICSI has provided a hope for these couples.
ICSI refers to the laboratory procedure where a single sperm is picked up with a fine glass needle and is injected directly into each egg. This is carried out in the laboratory by experienced embryologists using specialist equipment.