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Current Trends in Clinical Embryology

The role of automation within the ivf laboratory

Mini-review, 108 - 114
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Abstract
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“Automation” is a notion already clear in the manufacturing sector and can be defined as “the use of self-regulating machinery, electronic equipment, etc. to make a manufacturing system or process operate at greater speed and with little or no human intervention” or “the use of equipment or devices, esp. computers, in any system or process so as to improve its efficiency or effectiveness”.
Automation can provide energy, elaborate complex information and supply precise system control, in order to increase production and get better results. We all already use machines in our everyday life: in travel industry, banking sector, office automation, healthcare
services, and in many more situations.
Among all, a special mention goes to the medicine field, in which automation is increasingly used, from robotic surgery to clinical biochemistry. Reproductive medicine is not excluded from this on going mechanization, such that we can hypothesize to implement any assisted reproductive unit of the future with integrated automatic devices.
Almost all the steps of the routine in vitro fertilization (IVF) laboratory work may be mechanized, and indeed some procedures are already performed automatically in a number of clinics: culture media preparation; sperm analysis and selection; oocyte insemination or microinjection; embryo culture and development monitoring; embryo biopsy; gametes and embryos cryopreservation; witnessing.
We will now discuss briefly about the introduction of the main automated technologies within an IVF laboratory, particularly focusing on their potential advantages and possible drawbacks, in order to give a simple overview of the present and future challenges depicted.

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