Microfluidics for mammalian embryo culture and selection: where do we stand now?

Severine le Gac, Verena Nordhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The optimization of in-vitro culture conditions and the selection of the embryo(s) with the highest developmental competence are essential components in an ART program. Culture conditions are manifold and they underlie not always evidence-based research but also trends entering the IVF laboratory. At the moment, the idea of using sequential media according to the embryo requirements has been given up in favor of the use of single step media in an uninterrupted manner due to practical issues such as time-lapse incubators. The selection of the best embryo is performed using morphological and, recently, also morphokinetic criteria. In this review, we aim to demonstrate how the ART field may benefit from the use of microfluidic technology, with a particular focus on specific steps, namely the embryo in-vitro culture, embryo scoring and selection, and embryo cryopreservation. We first provide an overview of microfluidic and microfabricated devices, which have been developed for embryo culture, characterization of pre-implantation embryos (or in some instances a combination of both steps) and embryo cryopreservation. Building upon these existing platforms and the various capabilities offered by microfluidics, we discuss how this technology could provide integrated and automated systems, not only for real-time and multi-parametric monitoring of embryo development, but also for performing the entire ART procedure. Although microfluidic technology has been around for a couple of decades already, it has still not made its way into the clinics and IVF laboratories, which we discuss in terms of: (i) a lack of user-friendliness and automation of the microfluidic platforms, (ii) a lack of robust and convincing validation using human embryos and (iii) some psychological threshold for embryologists and practitioners to test and use microfluidic technology. In spite of these limitations, we envision that microfluidics is likely to have a significant impact in the field of ART, for fundamental research in the near future and, in the longer term, for providing a novel generation of clinical tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-226
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2016

Fingerprint

Mammalian Embryo
Microfluidics
Embryonic Structures
Technology
Cryopreservation
Lab-On-A-Chip Devices
Incubators
Automation
Research
Mental Competency
Embryonic Development
Psychology

Keywords

  • in-vitro embryo culture, embryo scoring, embryo cryopreservation, microfluidics, integration

Cite this

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title = "Microfluidics for mammalian embryo culture and selection: where do we stand now?",
abstract = "The optimization of in-vitro culture conditions and the selection of the embryo(s) with the highest developmental competence are essential components in an ART program. Culture conditions are manifold and they underlie not always evidence-based research but also trends entering the IVF laboratory. At the moment, the idea of using sequential media according to the embryo requirements has been given up in favor of the use of single step media in an uninterrupted manner due to practical issues such as time-lapse incubators. The selection of the best embryo is performed using morphological and, recently, also morphokinetic criteria. In this review, we aim to demonstrate how the ART field may benefit from the use of microfluidic technology, with a particular focus on specific steps, namely the embryo in-vitro culture, embryo scoring and selection, and embryo cryopreservation. We first provide an overview of microfluidic and microfabricated devices, which have been developed for embryo culture, characterization of pre-implantation embryos (or in some instances a combination of both steps) and embryo cryopreservation. Building upon these existing platforms and the various capabilities offered by microfluidics, we discuss how this technology could provide integrated and automated systems, not only for real-time and multi-parametric monitoring of embryo development, but also for performing the entire ART procedure. Although microfluidic technology has been around for a couple of decades already, it has still not made its way into the clinics and IVF laboratories, which we discuss in terms of: (i) a lack of user-friendliness and automation of the microfluidic platforms, (ii) a lack of robust and convincing validation using human embryos and (iii) some psychological threshold for embryologists and practitioners to test and use microfluidic technology. In spite of these limitations, we envision that microfluidics is likely to have a significant impact in the field of ART, for fundamental research in the near future and, in the longer term, for providing a novel generation of clinical tools.",
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author = "{le Gac}, Severine and Verena Nordhoff",
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Microfluidics for mammalian embryo culture and selection: where do we stand now? / le Gac, Severine ; Nordhoff, Verena.

In: Molecular Human Reproduction, Vol. 23, No. 4, 04.10.2016, p. 213-226.

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Microfluidics for mammalian embryo culture and selection: where do we stand now?

AU - le Gac, Severine

AU - Nordhoff, Verena

PY - 2016/10/4

Y1 - 2016/10/4

N2 - The optimization of in-vitro culture conditions and the selection of the embryo(s) with the highest developmental competence are essential components in an ART program. Culture conditions are manifold and they underlie not always evidence-based research but also trends entering the IVF laboratory. At the moment, the idea of using sequential media according to the embryo requirements has been given up in favor of the use of single step media in an uninterrupted manner due to practical issues such as time-lapse incubators. The selection of the best embryo is performed using morphological and, recently, also morphokinetic criteria. In this review, we aim to demonstrate how the ART field may benefit from the use of microfluidic technology, with a particular focus on specific steps, namely the embryo in-vitro culture, embryo scoring and selection, and embryo cryopreservation. We first provide an overview of microfluidic and microfabricated devices, which have been developed for embryo culture, characterization of pre-implantation embryos (or in some instances a combination of both steps) and embryo cryopreservation. Building upon these existing platforms and the various capabilities offered by microfluidics, we discuss how this technology could provide integrated and automated systems, not only for real-time and multi-parametric monitoring of embryo development, but also for performing the entire ART procedure. Although microfluidic technology has been around for a couple of decades already, it has still not made its way into the clinics and IVF laboratories, which we discuss in terms of: (i) a lack of user-friendliness and automation of the microfluidic platforms, (ii) a lack of robust and convincing validation using human embryos and (iii) some psychological threshold for embryologists and practitioners to test and use microfluidic technology. In spite of these limitations, we envision that microfluidics is likely to have a significant impact in the field of ART, for fundamental research in the near future and, in the longer term, for providing a novel generation of clinical tools.

AB - The optimization of in-vitro culture conditions and the selection of the embryo(s) with the highest developmental competence are essential components in an ART program. Culture conditions are manifold and they underlie not always evidence-based research but also trends entering the IVF laboratory. At the moment, the idea of using sequential media according to the embryo requirements has been given up in favor of the use of single step media in an uninterrupted manner due to practical issues such as time-lapse incubators. The selection of the best embryo is performed using morphological and, recently, also morphokinetic criteria. In this review, we aim to demonstrate how the ART field may benefit from the use of microfluidic technology, with a particular focus on specific steps, namely the embryo in-vitro culture, embryo scoring and selection, and embryo cryopreservation. We first provide an overview of microfluidic and microfabricated devices, which have been developed for embryo culture, characterization of pre-implantation embryos (or in some instances a combination of both steps) and embryo cryopreservation. Building upon these existing platforms and the various capabilities offered by microfluidics, we discuss how this technology could provide integrated and automated systems, not only for real-time and multi-parametric monitoring of embryo development, but also for performing the entire ART procedure. Although microfluidic technology has been around for a couple of decades already, it has still not made its way into the clinics and IVF laboratories, which we discuss in terms of: (i) a lack of user-friendliness and automation of the microfluidic platforms, (ii) a lack of robust and convincing validation using human embryos and (iii) some psychological threshold for embryologists and practitioners to test and use microfluidic technology. In spite of these limitations, we envision that microfluidics is likely to have a significant impact in the field of ART, for fundamental research in the near future and, in the longer term, for providing a novel generation of clinical tools.

KW - in-vitro embryo culture, embryo scoring, embryo cryopreservation, microfluidics, integration

U2 - 10.1093/molehr/gaw061

DO - 10.1093/molehr/gaw061

M3 - Literature review

VL - 23

SP - 213

EP - 226

JO - Molecular Human Reproduction

JF - Molecular Human Reproduction

SN - 1360-9947

IS - 4

ER -