Recent reports from MIT Technology Review suggest that engineers may be closer than ever to creating an automated in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. A team of engineers from Barcelona successfully used a robot to inject sperm into human eggs, resulting in the birth of two healthy baby girls. The sperm-injecting robot was shipped to the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City where it was assembled and controlled using a PlayStation 5 controller.
The robot was used to fertilize over a dozen eggs, leading to healthy embryos and the birth of the two babies. This breakthrough could pave the way for simpler and less expensive IVF procedures, as the current process requires multimillion-dollar laboratories staffed by trained specialists and can cost up to $20,000 in the United States. With the development of automated IVF systems, the cost of fertility treatments could be lowered exponentially, making them more accessible to those who need them.
The recent success of Overture, a startup company working on developing automated in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology, has drawn attention to the potential of automated IVF. While other companies are also working on developing this technology, Overture has managed to raise more funding for its research.
The high cost of IVF treatments means that many people do not have access to them, despite an estimated 500,000 children being born through IVF each year. However, the development of an automated IVF system that can be conducted in a desktop setting has the potential to make these treatments more accessible.
Although the current technology requires human control, it is likely that this will change as the technology advances. The possibilities of automated machines are continuously expanding, as demonstrated by recent advancements in robotics, such as robots that can gather intelligence and even melt away. It will be exciting to see where companies like Overture take this technology in the future.