Author(s): Smith GD, Takayama S
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Abstract Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) encompass some of the most exciting modern scientific developments that tremendously impacts society at many levels. Since the beginning of ARTs, scientists have studied and critically analyzed techniques in order to find ways to improve outcomes; however, little has changed with the actual technology and equipment for embryo in vitro production (IVP). New technologic possibilities exist with the escalating advancements of microfluidic technologies. Microfluidics is based on the behavior of liquids in a microenvironment. Although a young field, substantial research demonstrates the potential of this technology in gamete and embryo isolation and culture. In this review, we briefly discuss physical principles of microfluidics and highlight previous utilization of this technology. We then present designs and outcomes for microfluidic devices utilized thus far for different steps in the IVP process: gamete isolation and processing, fertilization, and embryo culture. Finally, we discuss and speculate on future use of microfluidics for assessing embryo viability and multiparametric analysis of embryo secretions and the integration of ART stage-specific capabilities that will lead to an "IVP-lab-on-a-chip".
This article was published in Theriogenology
and referenced in Journal of Fertilization: In Vitro - IVF-Worldwide, Reproductive Medicine, Genetics & Stem Cell Biology