Analysis of sperm concentration and motility in a microfluidic device
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A home-use device that allows rapid and quantitative sperm quality analysis is desirable but not yet fully realized. To aid this effort, this article presents a microfluidic device capable of quantifying sperm quality in terms of two critical fertility-related parameters—motile sperm concentration and motility. The microdevice produces flow field for sperms to swim against, and sperms that overcame the flow within a specified time are propelled along in a separate channel and counted via resistive pulse technique. Data are compared to two control methods clinically utilized for sperm quality exam—hemocytometer and the sperm quality analyzer. Results reveal the numbers of pulses generated by passage of sperms correlates strongly with the two control methods: pulse number from 0 to 335 corresponds to progressively motile sperm concentrations from 0 to 19 × 106/ml (hemocytometer) and Sperm Motility Index from 0 to 204 (sperm quality analyzer). The microdevice should be applicable to facilitate self-assessment of sperm quality at home.
KeywordsMicrofluidics Sperm Infertility Resistive pulse technique
Funding from the National Science Council (Grants NSC98-2120-M-002-009 and NSC94-2212-E-002-054) is gratefully acknowledged. Professors Ju-Ton Hsieh and Hong-Chiang Chang in the Department of Urology, National Taiwan University Hospital are acknowledged for their helpful discussion throughout this study. Miss M.M. Liu in the Department of Urology, National Taiwan University Hospital provided invaluable assistance on the operation of the Sperm Quality Analyzer.