A new home test kit that incorporates a smartphone attachment and app allows men to test their fertility, measuring sperm count, concentration, and movement.
“The latest study of a new at-home test kit, published today in Science Translational Medicine, found that even untrained users were able to measure sperm count and concentration as well as motility (the percentage of actively moving sperm), detecting abnormal semen with 97 percent accuracy compared with traditional lab testing,” reported Scientific American on Wednesday. “Developed by researchers at Harvard Medical School, the system uses a smartphone app with a 3-D–printed optical attachment to record a video of sperm cells in a sample. Software algorithms then analyze the video to count the sperm and assess their movement.”
“The user simply slides the brick-shaped magnifying optical attachment onto the back of a smartphone, then loads a semen sample into a disposable microchip device that looks like a flattened eyedropper, which is inserted into a slot in the device,” they explained. “The app records a one-second video of the sample, which appears on the screen, showing the swimmers in action.”
The kits reportedly cost around $5 to make, do not require an internet connection, and will likely market for less than $50.
“Men who want to monitor their sperm over time can also keep the optical attachment and just replace the disposable microchips,” added Scientific American. “Researchers say the product could be used by men in developing countries; those who cannot afford laboratory tests or those who are hesitant to go to a lab.”