Microfluidics for Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Infertility affects around 10% of couples. As reproduction is a major quality-of-life issue, there is a large motivation for the advancement of assisted reproductive technology (ART). The situation is particularly acute for oncofertility preservation and fertility preservation for those who are genetically predisposed to infertility. Although a relatively new field, microfluidics has demonstrated the benefits of automation, consistency, sensitivity, and precision in the field of ART. For example, the orderly laminar flow capability of microfluidics can be used to focus then quickly and accurately sort high numbers of male gametes. Small volume cultures and dynamic flow environments provided by microfluidics are also advantageous for the manipulation and nurture of delicate female gametes and embryos. This chapter provides a brief overview of these and other recent examples of microfluidic ART. The matching size scale of microfluidics with gametes and embryo, the highly sensitive nature of these cells to handling procedures, and the high importance and value of these cells make the field of microfluidic ART promising.