To explore whether different polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) concentrations affect the results of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a prospective study was conducted for 194 couples undergoing 210 ICSI therapy cycles. These cycles were divided into three groups (10, 7 and 5% groups) using the corresponding concentration of PVP for sperm immobilization. The main outcome measures were analyzed. Results indicated that, with a decrease in PVP concentrations, all of the main outcome measures increased. In particular, the high-quality cleavage embryo rate in the 7% group was significantly lower than in the 5% group (P < 0.01), and the cleavage, high-quality cleavage embryo, and high-quality blastocyst rates in the 5% group were significantly higher than those in the 10% group (all P < 0.001). For high-/intermediate-quality semen, all of the main outcome measures were significantly increased with 5% PVP. For the poor-quality semen, only the high-quality cleavage embryo and high-quality blastocyst rates were significantly higher in the 5% group. Therefore, lowering PVP concentrations greatly promoted the development of embryos in ICSI cycles, with an optimal concentration of 5% for ICSI.