Computational modelling of maternal interactions with spermatozoa: potentials and prospects.
ABSTRACT Understanding the complex interactions between gametes, embryos and the maternal tract is required knowledge for combating infertility and developing new methods of contraception. Here we present some main aspects of spermatozoa interactions with the mammalian oviduct before fertilisation and discuss how computational modelling can be used as an invaluable aid to experimental investigation in this field. A complete predictive computational model of gamete and embryo interactions with the female reproductive tract is a long way off. However, the enormity of this task should not discourage us from working towards it. Computational modelling allows us to investigate aspects of maternal communication with gametes and embryos, which are financially, ethically or practically difficult to look at experimentally. In silico models of maternal communication with gametes and embryos can be used as tools to complement in vivo experiments, in the same way as in vitro and in situ models.