Harvard designs smartphone app to measure male fertility

Once the sample is loaded in the case, the app (Android) accurately analyzes the sample to determine its properties.

Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital have come up with an innovative but cheap way to analyze the sperm count. They have developed a new smartphone app and device that can do male fertility test at home, just like those pregnancy kits available in the market.

Considered to be a game changer for sperm count analyzes, Fortune explained, "The method in question pairs a smartphone app with a specially-designed phone case containing multiple lenses which can magnify sperm samples (inserted into the device via a special tube and disposable microchip) in conjunction with a LED light."

Once the sample is loaded in the case, the app (Android) accurately analyzes the sample to determine its properties. "We have demonstrated that the smartphone-based semen analyzer can accurately measure sperm concentration, motility, total sperm count, total motile sperm count, and linear and curvilinear velocities using a small volume of an unwashed, unprocessed semen sample loaded into a disposable microchip..."We developed an automated smartphone-based diagnostic assay with the potential to make male fertility testing as accessible, easy, fast, and private as pregnancy tests."

The device will be priced $50 range and provides results with 98 percent accuracy. In a detailed report, Guardian stated, "In more than 40% of cases where couples struggle to conceive, the underlying fertility issue is linked to sperm abnormalities, but the researchers said that social stigma and lack of access to testing meant that many men never seek evaluation."

John Petrozza, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center and co-author of the research said, "Men have to provide semen samples in these rooms at a hospital, a situation in which they often experience stress, embarrassment, pessimism and disappointment. Current clinical tests are lab-based, time-consuming and subjective. This test is low-cost, quantitative, highly accurate and can analyze a video of an undiluted, unwashed semen sample in less than five seconds."