1. The mature egg is held with a specialized pipette.
2. A very delicate, sharp, and hollow needle is used to immobilize and pick up a single sperm.
3. The needle is then carefully inserted through the shell of the egg and into the cytoplasm of the egg.
4. The sperm is injected into the cytoplasm, and the needle is carefully removed.
5. The eggs are checked the following day for evidence of normal fertilization.
For men who have low sperm count or sperm with low mobility, the sperm may be collected through normal ejaculation. If the man has had a vasectomy, the microsurgical vasectomy reversal is the most cost-effective option for restoring fertility.
Needle aspiration or microsurgical sperm retrieval are good alternatives when a competent microsurgical vasectomy reversal has failed, or when the man refuses surgery. Needle aspiration allows physicians to easily and quickly obtain adequate numbers of sperm for the ICSI procedure. A tiny needle is used to extract sperm directly from the testis.
Needle aspiration is a simple procedure performed under sedation with minimal discomfort; however, there is the potential for pain and swelling afterwards. The sperm obtained from testis is only appropriate for ICSI procedures when testicular sperm is not able to penetrate an egg by itself.