lab on a chipWho would have ever thought there could be a lab on a chip? Here’s an example. A couple decide it is time to start a family. It is a big decision, and an awesome and blessed responsibility to take on. A few months go by and nothing happens, even though a LOT is happening. A little googling leads to a few ideas. Change the timing? Positions? Urinate before? After? During…no that was a gag youtube video. Eat more asparagus. Increase the frequency? Increase the frequency until it is all work and no play and then what? Go to a doctor? Embarrassed? Confused? Get a chip and a kit.

Could there really be a lab on a chip?

Believe it or not a kit that a man can put some semen into and then coordinated with a disposable chip inserted into a smartphone can do a semen count and measure motility. Wow, is this 23rd century or what? Who knew? Technology does seem to be accelerating at an ever increasing rate. And it seems that much new technology also opens up ethical questions that go beyond anything that ever had to be considered before as well.

How about partners checking each other’s fertility?

Early in a relationship, can a woman furtively collect enough semen to test and make sure the potential lifetime partner is fully loaded? Can a man collect some kind of secretions to check a woman’s hormone levels by smartphone and make sure her cycle is supportive of conception and delivery?

What about beyond sperm and eggs?

will chips be available at some point that can actually decipher an entire genome? Can the analyses promised by companies like 23 and Me eventually be put onto a cellphone chip like this and testing done on people who don’t even realize it? What about a few cells stuck to a water glass in a restaurant? Will billions of people’s genetic codes be the next database the NSA compiles? Where does it end? Dr. Newman, a urologist in Las Vegas is keeping track of these trends.