Fertility apps aren’t just for women. A new male fertility kit and companion app from Medical Electronic Systems, which makes commercial-grade automated semen analyzers, allows men to test their semen at home using their smartphone.
The test is called YO, and features a clip-on mini microscope that users attach to their smartphone, plus a sample collection cup, a testing slide, a plastic pipette and a special liquefying powder. Users start by opening the app and assembling the supplies, then get to work producing a sample. That’s the easy part, as the next few steps require some serious attention to detail.
Once the user has a sample, they then mix the powder into the collection cup and swirl it around for 10 to 15 seconds before letting it rest for 10 minutes. As the sperm is resting (which is timed on the app), users can play a sperm trivia game on the app. Then, they pipette a bit of the sample onto the slide, insert the slide into the clip, and tap “start testing.” The app takes 30 seconds to take a video of the same, then spends a couple minutes analyzing before the video appears on the screen along with a sperm count and motility.
The idea is to give men an idea of their fertility status without having to walk into a doctor’s office and do the highly personal and oftentimes embarrassing process there. With the YO test, a man can just do it at home and show it to a doctor later.
“The explosion of apps and wearables dedicated to optimizing the chance of pregnancy is evidence that people crave more awareness of their fertility status. However, the bulk of these new technology tools cater to women. No other company is tackling male reproductive health in this manner,” Marcia Deutsch, CEO of Medical Electronic Systems said in a statement.
While there have been other home test kits available, Deutsch said YO is different in that it also offers a motility assessment in addition to a sperm count.
“If a man is producing 100 million sperm and they are all dead or not swimming, it’s useless to know your sperm concentration is 'normal'. The key is to assess sperm that are moving, as these are the sperm that will fertilize an egg during normal conception,” Deutsch said. “YO is trailblazing a new approach offering consumers valuable and reliable information and bringing clarity to one of life’s biggest moments, that of starting a family.”
The test is geared towards men who may be concerned about fertility status, whose spouses or partners are having a problem conceiving and want to know if it is due to the man’s fertility (which is the case in approximately 40 to 50 percent of infertility cases), men who want to know more about their reproductive health, or those who are simply curious and want to see their live sperm up close and personal.
The test, which is now in preorder on the company’s website, sells direct to consumers at $49.95 for two tests and will begin shipping in January 2017.