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New culture devices in ART
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by L Rienzi, Gabor VajtaGabor Vajta, F Ubaldi
During the past decades, improvements in culture of preimplantation embryos have contributed substantially in the success of human assisted reproductive techniques. However, most efforts were focused on optimization of media and gas components, while the established physical conditions and applied devices have remained essentially unchanged. Very recently, however, intensive research has been started to provide a more appropriate environment for the embryos and to replace the rather primitive and inappropriate devices with more sophisticated and practical instruments. Success has been reported with simple or sophisticated tools (microwells or microchannels) that allow accumulation of autocrine factors and establishment of a proper microenvironment for embryos cultured individually or in groups. The microchannel system may also offer certain level of automation and increased standardization of culture parameters. Continuous monitoring of individual embryos by optical or biochemical methods may help to determine the optimal day of transfer, and selection of the embryo with highest developmental competence for transfer. This advancement may eventually lead to adjustment of the culture environment to each individual embryo according to its actual needs. Connection of these techniques to additional radical approaches as automated ICSI or an ultimate assisted hatching with full removal of the zona pellucida after or even before fertilization may result in devices with high reliability and consistency, to increase the overall efficiency and decrease the work-intensity, and to eliminate the existing technological gap between laboratory embryology work and most other fields of biomedical sciences.