If you are undergoing IVF treatment, your Consultant will have spoken to you about Physiological Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (PICSI). PICSI is a method of selecting the best possible sperm for fertilisation before injection into the egg in the IVF protocol. Sperm are placed in the PICSI dish containing samples of hyaluronan (a naturally occurring biopolymer found in all human cells) hydrogel.

What PICSI does is select sperm according to how well they bind to the hyaluronan around an egg cell. Mature, biochemically competent sperm bind are then isolated by the embryologist and used for ICSI.

The selected sperm is essentially the same as one that would be successful in the natural reproductive process. The more mature a sperm cell, the more able it is to bind to hyaluronic acid, meaning that it is better suited to fertilising the egg.

 PICSI is highly recommended in these particular cases:

  • Previous failure or low fertilisation even after ICSI.
  • Low embryo quality or their failure to develop (not related to poor egg quality).
  • Repeated miscarriages.

Please note: HFEA view on PICSI.