Full in vitro fertilization laboratory mechanization: toward robotic assisted reproduction?

Capsule:
Technologies related to automation, such as nonsubjective sperm selection, oocyte fertilization, and embryo culture and monitoring, are available, and this means that sample preparation, chemical or biologic reactions, and data collection could be integrated.

Authors:
Marcos Meseguer, Ph.D., Ulrich Kruhne, Ph.D., Steen Laursen, Ph.D.
Volume 97, Issue 6 , Pages 1277-1286, June 2012

Objective:
To describe the current efforts made to standardize different steps of assisted reproductive technology processes by the introduction of new technologies for the nonsubjective sperm selection process, oocyte denudation by mechanical removal of cumulus cells, oocyte positioning, sperm motility screening, fertilization, embryo culture, media replacement by microfluidics, and monitoring of embryo development by time-lapse photography, embryo secretions, and/or O2 consumption. These technologies could be integrated in a unique and fully automated device.

Design:
Pubmed database and research and development data from authors.

Setting:
University-affiliated private center.

Patient(s):
None.

Intervention(s):
None.

Main Outcome Measurement(s):
None.

Result(s):
Several technologies would be useful for: 1) selection of sperm based on viability; 2) manipulation and removal of the cumulus cells’ narrow channel regions combined with microfluidics; 3) advances in oocyte positioning precision through the use of joystick-controlled micromanipulators; 4) microfluidics allowing the gradual change of a culture medium, which might result in better embryo development as well as reduce the amount of embryo manipulation; 5) time-lapse, proteomic, and metabolic scoring of the developing embryo, allowing multiple and optimized selection of the embryos. The technologies described in this review have not yet reported reliable clinical proofs.

Conclusion(s):
We already have available some of the technologies described, but we envisage an integrated device, i.e., an IVF lab-on-a-chip, by which oocyte and sperm would be processed to achieve a perfect embryo ready to be delivered into the uterus. With such a device, sample preparation, chemical or biologic reactions, and data collection would be integrated.

Translate »