ICSI stands for intracytoplasmic sperm injection. This method of artificial insemination involves the direct fertilisation of an egg cell in a laboratory using a selected sperm cell.

The doctors and medical experts at Hirslanden have decades of experience in the provision of IVF and ICSI treatments and are specially trained to accommodate the different cultural requirements and expectations of our international patients.

When are ICSI treatments used?  

ICSI treatments are carried out if the man’s sperm demonstrates reduced quality or limited mobility, or if there is a limited number of sperm available.

Our specialists from Hirslanden International will gladly advise you on the topic of ICSI treatment in Switzerland.

Difference between in vitro fertilisation and ICSI

Conventional in vitro fertilisation (IVF) involves placing the egg cell together with tens of thousands of sperm cells in a test tube. If the sperm quality of the man is insufficient, or if not enough sperm cells are produced, a conventional IVF procedure does not have a good chance of being successful.

However, this is not the case with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): the advantage of this treatment method is that it only requires a single sperm cell. The egg cell is directly fertilised by experienced biologists with a specially selected, quick and optically perfect sperm.

Find out more about the success rates and risks of in vitro or ICSI treatment in the overview of the topic “Artificial Insemination – Fertility Treatment in Switzerland”.

ICSI procedure

How is ICSI done? An ICSI treatment is similar to conventional IVF:

  1. after a comprehensive consultation, your Hirslanden doctor will test the man’s sperm quality and organise hormonal treatment for the woman. This treatment prevents premature ovulation and stimulates the ovaries to mature several ovarian follicles at the same time.
  2. At regular check-ups over the next two weeks, your doctor will examine the maturity of the egg cells and decide whether it is time to trigger ovulation. If the egg cells are ready, the doctor will remove them from the ovaries. This outpatient procedure is performed at your Hirslanden doctor’s medical practice and you will be able to leave the hospital on the same day. On the day of the procedure, the man provides a semen sample. The most suitable sperm cells are chosen and prepared using various methods, such as physiological sperm selection.
  3. The next step is the actual intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): the sperm cell is transferred directly into the cell fluid of the egg cell. The fertilised egg cells are then observed over a period of three to five days as they develop into embryos. 
  4. Following this, your Hirslanden doctor will transfer one or two of the embryos into the woman’s womb (embryo transfer). If some of the other embryos have also developed well, on request they can be frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored at the laboratory, so that they will be available if further treatments are necessary or desired in the future.

In special situations, separate types of treatment such as pICSI (physiological ICSI, in which the optimum sperm present themselves), IMSI (particularly detailed analysis of the sperm under a special microscope) or co-treatment with calcium ionophore are used in place of the normal ICSI treatment.