During ICSI, sperm are selected for injection on the basis of their shape (morphology) and motility. However, this visual approach does not necessarily reflect the functionality of the sperm and its ability to fertilize an oocyte (egg). The PICSI dish provides a functional test for sperm to aid the embryologist’s selection for ICSI. The test is based on the ability of sperm to bind to hyaluronan hydrogel mimicking the natural binding of mature sperm to oocytes (eggs) in the female.

The PICSI dish is a polystyrene culture dish with three microdots of hyaluronan attached to the bottom of its interior. The dish is sterile, and non-toxic to embryos and is used as an additional step in the selection of sperm for ICSI.

It may be particularly useful for men with:

  • a previous history of poor fertilization in their ART attempts
  • a previous history of poor embryo development in their ART attempts
  • reduced sperm morphology
  • reduced sperm motility
  • sperm that has been collected by PESA or MESA
  • low ‘quality’ sperm previously cryopreserved (frozen).

Patients using testicular sperm – where sperm are immotile – cannot use this test unless motility develops during tissue preparation.