Electrochemical detection of fertility hormones

Mukund Khanwalker, Jared Johns, Mackenzie M. Honikel, Victoria Smith, Stephanie Maxwell, Sandhya Santhanaraman, Jeffrey LaBelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Fertility hormone levels are constantly changing, but it is crucial for a woman to be able to monitor her fertility levels if she is interested in conceiving. Women and physicians often have a difficult time determining ovulation windows due to fluctuating menstrual cycles and inaccurate interpretations of hormone levels. Current methods of fertility monitoring include physical or vaginal exams, laparoscopy, ultrasound scans, as well as evaluation of hormone levels. A rapid, at-home fertility monitoring tool can help alleviate the apprehensiveness associated with routine screenings and give women the privacy desired when trying to conceive. Herein, we discuss the development of an electrochemical biosensor for quantification of three fertility hormones: beta-estradiol, progesterone, and FSH. Each biomarker’s MRE was immobilized onto a gold disk electrode through the use of self-assembled monolayer linking chemistry. Using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), the biomarker concentration was correlated to impedance magnitude. An optimal binding frequency was identified for each biomarker, permitting simplistic hardware requirements and investigation into multimarker detection. Analytes were tested in both purified solutions and 1%–90% whole blood. Each biomarker exhibited a unique imaginary impedance peak and optimal binding frequency. The determination was made by assessing the response parameters including the linear fit correlation across the physiological hormone ranges. The existence of unique optimal frequencies permits for simultaneous detection of multiple hormones in a single test. Additionally, the identified frequency was robust across purified and complex solutions. Response characteristics were negatively impacted by the introduction of blood-based contaminants. However, the introduction of Nafion membranes, similar to ones used in commercial glucose sensors, is both feasible and beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-247
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
  • Fertility
  • Hormone detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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