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Check sperm health with smartphone device
April 5, 2017, 5:07 pm

A new smartphone device developed at the Harvard Medical School in Boston in the United States, promises to provide men with the ability to check the health of their sperm in the privacy of their home.

The new device analyzes semen using a disposable rubberized microchip that is designed to enclose and handle samples. The microchip is slid into the device that can then be attached to the smartphone. A smartphone app then does a video scan of the sample and roughly five seconds later an analysis is produced.

The analysis meets World Health organization (WHO) standards in terms of healthy sperm concentrations and sperm motility or movement. He results meet s The semen sample is kept within the microchip, so it never enters the smartphone. But a smartphone app is able to scan and video the sample. So far, the tests have shown 98 percent accuracy.

The inventors of the device say the next step is to get clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration, which could take up to years, if all goes well.

More than 45 million couples re estimated to struggle with infertility worldwide. Male infertility alone is implicated in roughly 20 percent of all infertility cases, while about one-third of all cases involve male infertility alongside female infertility. The study team puts the latter figure at about 40 percent.

Researchers have also found that most male infertility is linked to either an insufficient amount of sperm or ‘abnormal’ sperm that suffer from impaired mobility or from an atypically short life span, researchers have found.

Diagnosis typically entails a doctor's examination and laboratory analysis including semen-quality analysis and blood tests. However, this can be an awkward experience for many men who are embarrassed at visiting an urologist. Moreover, clinical examination and care can also prove expensive as well as difficult and time consuming.

In nearly 400 tests done with regular examination as well as with the new device, researchers found that the smartphone app results successfully matched laboratory test results in nearly all cases.

In addition to accuracy, the new device also provides privacy with the information from the tests limited to only the patient. All the analysis is performed on the phone and, since the data is stored on the phone, it can be deleted at any time.

Although the team did not put a price on the app/device package, they said that when and if it becomes available to the public it would be a ‘low-cost’ procedure.

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