IVF: New Technology Photographs Moment of Fertilization
Physics graduate student Benjamin Ravaux from the Ecole Normale Supieure de Paris in France demonstrated new technology at the Biophysical Society’s 60th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles last month that captures microscopic images of the exact moments of fertilization.
Ravaux’s design, named the “IVF Chip”, is a microfluidic device that attaches sperm to the bottom of the silicon-layered electronic chip, and holds an egg above within an “egg cup”. The sperm is transported through a small opening in the bottom and fuses with the egg. The chip allows for high-resolution imaging systems to photograph the complex biological events that occur starting at the egg’s membrane through the full fusion of the sperm with the egg.
The “IVF Chip” is the first technology available that can observe the interactions between one mammalian egg and one sperm. Ravaux hopes that use of the technique, in compilation with other fertility studies, can better diagnose causes of infertility and offer personalized medical solutions.
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