A Smart Phone App Allows Men To Test Their Fertility

Majority of couples around the world have been struggling with infertility. The standard methods for testing male infertility can be expensive, labor intensive and requires testing in clinic. To reduce the hassle of going to the clinic to get it tested, researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital have developed an app that could be accessed by men from their smartphone to monitor their fertility levels and measure their sperm count.

Hadi Shafiee, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School has developed this rapid infertility diagnostic tool, which is attached to the smart phone. Hadi Shafiee talking about the new device says that “We wanted to come up with a solution to make male infertility testing as simple and affordable as home pregnancy tests”. This device has been put together using spare parts from DVD and CD drives.

The analyzer consists of an optical attachment that is connected to the smartphone, along with a disposable device into which a semen sample can be loaded. The way this device works is you should load a small amount of semen sample onto the disposable microchip, then the microchip must be attached into the cell phone through a slot, the attachment turns the phone’s camera into a microscope. Once the sample is loaded, by running the app it allows the users to view a video. Then hit record, and the app analysis the video to identify sperm cells and tracks their movements. This new app has been successful in identifying abnormal sperm samples with 98% accuracy.

-    Akhila Kakarala with inputs from http://www.npr.org, http://news.harvard.edu
-    Pic courtesy: http://d.ibtimes.co.uk