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Welcome to our guide to ICSI treatment: digestible, comprehensive and reviewed by medical experts. Whether you’re brand new to fertility treatment or a pro already, this guide is for you to better understand the ins and outs of ICSI treatment.
Dr. Salim
Reviewed by Dr. Rehan Salim
Medical Director at Lister Fertility
Consultant gynaecologist and expert in reproductive medicine
A few quick facts
ICSI was created in 1992.
ICSI stands for intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
It’s a popular treatment to address male factor infertility — male factor issues account for over half of couples who have problems conceiving. 1
Over 20,000 children have been born as a result of ICSI treatment.2
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What is IVF with ICSI treatment?

IVF with ICSI is a type of fertility treatment for couples or individuals who seek assistance to conceive a child. In IVF with ICSI, eggs and sperm are fertilised outside of the womb with a procedure that helps the sperm fertilise an egg, before being implanted into the person carrying the pregnancy.

What happens in IVF with ICSI treatment?

It starts the same way as in standard IVF: a female partner will go through egg retrieval, and those eggs will be fertilised in a lab. A male partner will produce a semen sample, often in a medical facility. But, instead of mixing sperm and eggs and leaving them to fertilise, like in standard IVF, there’s a little extra work to ensure the best quality sperm reaches eggs.

In ICSI treatment, an embryologist will wash the sperm and select one individual sperm to inject into each egg to give the egg the best possible chance to fertilise.

Like Standard IVF, IVF with ICSI takes around 4-6 weeks, depending on your medication protocol.3

When is ICSI recommended?

ICSI can be an option if sperm count is low or doesn’t move normally (“motility”) or has an irregular shape (“morphology”) that prevents it from fertilising an egg.4

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How much does IVF with ICSI cost?

Here are average costs from across all of the UK:

IVF Treatment process

Base cost of IVF:  
£4,000

IVF with sperm donor

ICSI:

£1,200

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Additional procedures:

£850

Two needles and a doctor's hands

Medication:

£1,700

IVF Treatment process - needles, test tubes and doctor's hands

Total average cost:
£7,750

If you’re going through private IVF treatment, the cost depends on your clinic and the medication your fertility doctor prescribes.

Medication

Your doctor will prescribe the protocol that they think will work best for you. If you decide to go through multiple rounds of IVF to increase your chances of pregnancy, your doctor will be able to better understand the medication protocols that work best for your body.

Depending on your situation, there may be multiple options, including “natural” cycles, which don’t use any medication and are less expensive, or “mild” or “stimulated” IVF cycles, which use less medication and are slightly less expensive than standard IVF. Your fertility doctor will be able to tell you which option(s) will be best for you.

Unexpected fees

Because everyone’s treatment is unique, everyone’s price is unique, too. Clinics often list “ballpark” pricing because patients might need different essential procedures and medications, like embryo freezing and storage for additional embryos created, sedation during egg collection and medication, which can be up to £3,000 on top of your treatment costs.

ICSI’s additional cost

ICSI costs between £500-1,700 on top of a standard IVF cycle’s costs.

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The bottom line

ICSI, in conjunction with IVF, is a good option for people with sperm quality issues. The cost of standard IVF with ICSI in the UK is between £6050-11200, including medication and all essential procedures. If you need help financing your IVF treatment, consider applying for a Gaia Plan, which will cover all your treatment costs and allow you to start treatment for as little as a protection fee.

Common questions asked about IVF with ICSI

Your fertility doctor will be able to answer your specific questions about your unique treatment plan, but there are a handful of questions that nearly every patient asks:

Can ICSI cause twins?
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Yes, ICSI, like IVF, can sometimes cause multiple births, including twins. While the studies are outdated at this point, some show that having ICSI treatment can increase your chances of having twins, even if you have a single embryo transfer. The risks are very rare. The reason is that sometimes, as an embryo fertilises in a lab, it can split into multiple embryos, resulting in identical twins.10

What are the long term effects of ICSI?
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Studies show a very small number of children born with genetic and developmental defects, but that may not be a result of ICSI. If the child conceived is a boy, there’s a possibility that he might inherit his father’s sperm quality issues.

What is the success rate of IVF with ICSI?
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Many reputable organisations, like the Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority (HFEA), don’t post statistics on ICSI treatment, as the results tend to be very similar to IVF. 

However, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • There is no evidence that ICSI helps individuals and couples get pregnant if there aren’t any signs of male factor fertility concerns.6
  • There are many factors that impact success, including the female partner’s age and diagnosis.

The bottom line: Treatment and medication protocols are different for every person. Typically, IVF is a treatment of cumulative chances and the more attempts you make at IVF treatment, the higher your chances of success are as you will have more embryo transfers.7 Because egg age factors significantly into the success of IVF treatment, the younger you are when you start treatment, the higher your likelihood of success. 

In 2019, the percentage of IVF treatments that resulted in a live birth was:8

  • 32% for women under 35
  • 25% for women aged 35 to 37
  • 19% for women aged 38 to 39
  • 11% for women aged 40 to 42
  • 5% for women aged 43 to 44
  • 4% for women aged over 44

Read more about success rates

What are the pros and cons of ICSI?
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Pros: For couples or people with sperm quality issues, ICSI can be an effective, non-invasive way to fertilise eggs. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to other treatment options.

Cons: It won’t necessarily help if you’re dealing with egg quality issues, which can make it difficult for eggs and sperm to fertilise.5 In that case, there are likely better treatment options, which your fertility doctor will tell you about.

Why do people choose IVF with ICSI vs Standard IVF?
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IVF is a good option for many people with many fertility issues, but if you or your partner has male factor fertility issues, IVF and ICSI are a good combination to consider. ICSI isn’t proven to help if you don’t have male factor issues, as it involves cleaning and selecting the best possible sperm to fertilise an egg.Your fertility doctor can answer any questions you have about your specific situation. 

Am I eligible for IVF with ICSI?

If you have signs of male factor fertility issues, ICSI can be a good option. Your fertility doctor can help you understand the options available for your specific situation and whether you need any diagnostic tests.

Depending on factors including your age, body type, and fertility history, you might be eligible for a Gaia Plan to finance your ICSI and IVF treatment.

Is IVF with ICSI suitable for me?

ICSI is a suitable option for heterosexual couples with male factor fertility issues. Learn more about other treatment options below:

Still have questions about IVF with ICSI?

If you have any other questions about IVF we haven’t answered, DM us on Instagram or join our community group

“Exploring potential male factor issues is just as important as female, but isn't anywhere near as heavily focused on as it should be.”

a newly married happy couple

Mike and Hollie

Gaia Members since 2022
Treatment: IVF with ICSI
Treatment history: 1 IVF treatment

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