A “lab on a chip” to improve success of in vitro fertilization
Scientists could improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization using a "lab on a chip" to study embryos. Above is a mouse embryo at the fifth day of development cultured in a 1 microliter droplet. Credit: Mark Johnson and Amanda Pennington
In a finding that could boost the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF),
researchers report development of a tiny “lab on a chip” to evaluate the fitness
of embryos harvested for transfer. A report on the approach — which researchers
describe as faster, easier, and more reliable than conventional embryo selection
methods — is scheduled for the Sept. 1 issue of ACS’ Analytical Chemistry, a semi-monthly
The scientists describe development of a so-called microfluidic chip, about the size of a quarter. It is intended to automatically analyze the health of embryos intended for transplant by measuring how the embryo alters key nutrients in the tissue culture medium used to nurture embryos. In laboratory studies, the researchers collected fluids surrounding 10 mouse embryos and added the fluids to the computer-controlled chip for analysis. They showed that the device could quickly (in minutes instead of hours) and accurately measure the nutrient content of the sample fluids. Besides improving the quality of embryos chosen for IVF, the system could ultimately cut costs associated with the procedure, the scientists say.
News release from American Chemical Society (ACS) on August 27, 2008.
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