PICSI is not a name for winged bad guys from Harry Potter books. PICSI is a modern reproductive technology; it’s a type of ICSI and an auxiliary IVF procedure that helps treat male infertility.
Let’s go over what ICSI is from the beginning. ICSI consists of an embryologist choosing only the best, most active sperm cell (as embryologists say, the most beautiful) from the patient’s collected sperm. The sperm cell is then immobilized with a special tiny needle under an electron microscope and injected directly into the egg cell. With this method, ONLY ONE sperm cell is necessary to complete the fertilization process and gives men with low sperm count the opportunity to become fathers.
From the description, the potential weakness is evident; the specialist has to choose the best sperm from dozens or even hundreds of thousands of sperm cells. Sounds like finding a needle in a hay stack, doesn’t it?
Just as the search for the needle can be made easier with the help of a magnet, PICSI helps make the search for the best sperm cell easier too. PICSI stands for Physiological Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection or simply Physiological ICSI. Nature created a mechanism for mature, high-quality sperm cells to attach to the membrane of an egg. Sperm is put in a special jar covered with this substance. As they are supposed to do, healthy, mature sperm cells start sticking to that substance on the walls of the container and the immature ones remain swimming freely. Using this method, we sort out the «premium» sperm cells from which a fertility specialist can choose the ones worthy of continuing our species. Aside from this step, PICSI follows the same protocol as ICSI.