Médecine de la Reproduction


Microfluidics for reproductive medicine Volume 24, issue 1, Janvier-Février-Mars 2022


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Applied Microfluidics for BioEngineering Research, MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology & TechMed Centre, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

Microfluidics, which is the science to manipulate fluids at the micrometer scale, was initially introduced to create lab-on-a-chip devices, for analytical purposes. Since then, microfluidics has significantly spread out to other fields of applications to also give rise to other sub-domains, like that of organs-on-chip. In this review, we first introduce microfluidics and organ-on-chip technologies, and summarize advantages presented by these miniaturized devices for life sciences and health applications. After a short overview of some of key-applications in these fields, we discuss opportunities possibly offered by microfluidic devices and organ-on-chip models for reproductive medicine and biology. Following this, we review various microfluidic devices developed for gamete analysis and sorting, for performing one or multiple steps of an IVF cycle, or for modeling reproductive organs and tissues, either for embryo production and growth in a biomimetic environment, or for reprotox applications. We conclude with a critical discussion on where these technologies of microfluidics and organ-on-a-chip currently stand, and on some of the remaining challenges before these devices could be adopted in clinical routines.