Connected devices are powerful agents of disintermediation, and Health Tech is no exception. Smartphones are taking sophisticated tasks away from professionals and literally putting them in the hands of consumers. We recently wrote about work by a group from Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital who are developing a smartphone-based male fertility diagnostic test. A National Survey of Family Growth survey reported 7.5% of all sexually experienced men under 45 reported seeing a fertility doctor.
Medical Electronic Systems (MES) is one of the largest FDA and CE cleared semen analysis companies in the world. MES has developed a downloadable app and smartphone home test kit. The kit is sold through YO, a brand owned by MES. The YO Home Sperm Test is also FDA cleared. The kit comes with a mini microscope clip-on device that attaches to smartphones. The clip-on uses the phone’s camera and light to capture sperm sample video. The $49.95 kit includes the clip-on mini microscope and disposable slides and supplies for two sperm tests. The YO test is based on the number of motile sperm in the sample. Sperm motility is the most common male fertility test. First, you collect a fresh sperm sample in the usual way in a supplied cup. Next, pour a vial of powder into the cup, stir, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Put the Yo Clip on your phone. Next, use a supplied pipette to extract a small amount of the sperm sample and put one drop on an indicated spot on a slide. Put the slide in the clip and press Start Testing in the app. After 2 to 3 minutes, your test result is reported in the app. According to YO, the results are 97 % accurate. Most errors are caused by mistakes in following testing procedures. Additional supplies can be ordered through the app.
Sperm motility is not the only male fertility measure, but it is the most common test. The Mass General/Brigham and Women’s Hospital project under development looks for abnormal sperm, not just quantity. With either approach to smartphone-based home sperm testing, men can avoid the stress, embarrassment, and cost of fertility tests in clinical settings.