During your initial consultation, we would have discussed the results of the semen analysis and both partners’ reproductive history. Those factors will help us choose one of the following fertility treatment options – IVF or ICSI – for fertilisation of your eggs.

  1. In-Vitro Fertilisation – IVF
  2. Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection – ICSI

IVF and ICSI are laboratory techniques by which a single sperm fertilises a single mature egg. The decision as to which treatment is the most suitable for you will depend on the quality of the sperm sample you provide on the day of the egg collection. Sperm quality can fluctuate on a regular basis.


In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

IVF is recommended if the sperm sample on the day of the egg collection is within normal range.

The sperm sample is prepared by a washing technique in the laboratory, and a known concentration of the prepared sperm sample is added to a culture dish containing your collected eggs. The inseminated eggs are incubated overnight which gives the sperm an opportunity to fertilise the mature eggs. The following morning the inseminated eggs are assessed for signs of fertilisation by one of our embryologists. On average 60-70% of eggs will fertilise if the sperm sample is suitable for IVF treatment.

IVF with a sperm sample that is not within the normal range can significantly reduce the likelihood of fertilisation. If your sperm sample on the day of egg collection is no longer within the normal range, we can easily convert your treatment cycle from IVF to ICSI. We will help you make a fully informed decision by discussing your treatment and answering any questions you may have before proceeding.


Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

ICSI is a fertilisation method that involves choosing a single sperm and injecting it into a mature egg using a very fine needle under microscopic control. ICSI assists the sperm to achieve fertilisation and is the recommended treatment for Male Factor Infertility.

Following the ICSI procedure, your injected eggs are incubated overnight and assessed the following morning by one of the embryology team for evidence of fertilisation. The average fertilisation rate following ICSI is similar to IVF with 60-70% of injected eggs fertilising normally. ICSI is the only treatment option for sperm samples that have been surgically retrieved.

The embryology team will be more than happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding whether IVF or ICSI is the best treatment for you.


It was announced in May 2014 that the Herts & Essex Fertility Centre came third out of 78 top performing laboratories for skills in embryo assessment.  You can read more here.