A new flow-based design for double-lumen needles.
Cimpeanu R., Castrejón-Pita AA., Lim LN., Vatish M., Georgiou EX.
Oocyte retrieval forms a crucial part of in vitro fertilisation treatment and its ultimate outcome. Standard double-lumen needles, which include a sequence of aspiration and flushing steps, are characterised by a similar success rate to single-lumen needles, despite their increased cost. A novel hydrodynamics-based needle called the OxIVF needle is proposed here, which is geared towards the generation of an internal flow field within the full follicular volume via laterally, rather than frontally, oriented flushing, leading to successful retrievals with no additional stress on the oocyte. A two-dimensional digital twin of the follicular environment is created and tested via multi-phase flow direct numerical simulation. Oocyte initial location within the follicle is varied, while quantities of interest such as velocity magnitude and vorticity are measured with a high level of precision. This provides insight into the overall fluid motion, as well as the trajectory and stresses experienced by the oocyte. A comparative benchmark set of tests indicated a higher success rate of the OxIVF needle of up to 100%, marking a significant improvement over the traditional double-lumen design whose success rate of no more than 75% was also highly dependent on the location of the needle tip inside the follicle. All forces measured during these tests showcase how the oocyte experiences stresses which are no larger than at the aspiration point, with the flow field providing a gentle steering effect towards the extraction region. Finally, the flow generation strategy maximises oocyte yield, unlocking new capabilities in both human and veterinary contexts.