Momentary exposure to a microfluidic environment seems to enhance embryo development
Shelinbarger, Caitlin L.
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The use of In Vitro fertilization has grown exponentially in the last 40 years since the birth of Louis Brown in 1978. The need for an objective and non-invasive method of embryo selection to allow for single embryo transfer is needed to increase the success rates and while simultaneously decreasing the multiple birth rates. One such method being tested uses a device that measures the specific gravity (SG) of embryos to estimate embryo weight, thus allowing for an estimation of chemical composition of the embryo. This device has been proposed to potentially benefit the embryos and improve their growth through a microfluidic effect. To test this theory, 250 one-cell mouse embryos were equally divided in-between a control and 4 treatments exposing embryos to a microfluidic environment for varied lengths of time. The embryos were then cultured for 5 days with daily checks for development. Results indicated embryo with the longest microfluidic exposure developed better than any other group; with 70.6% reaching the hatching blastocyst stage. The data continue to suggest the benefits of the SG device through a potential microfluidic effect. Further study is warranted to determine if these developmental advantages translate to higher pregnancy rates.