Microfluidic single sperm entrapment and analysis†
Selection of healthy spermatozoa is of crucial importance for the success rates of assisted reproduction technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection. Although sperm selection for ART procedures is predominantly based on sperm motility, successful fertilization is not predicted by good motility alone. For example, sperm characteristics such as the acrosome state and DNA integrity have shown significant impact on ART outcome. Although fertilization can be achieved with a single spermatozoon of high quality, current quality assessments are population-based and do not allow investigation of multiple sperm characteristics on a single spermatozoon simultaneously. In order to study sperm cells on the single cell level, we designed and characterized a PDMS microfluidic platform that allows single sperm entrapment. After spatially confining individual sperm cells within microfluidic cell traps, the cell viability, chromosomal content and acrosome state were studied. This platform is suitable for the analysis of individual sperm cells, which could be exploited for (non-invasive) sperm analysis and selection by impedance or Raman spectroscopy.