Smartphone test diagnoses male infertility in non-specialist setting

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Easy-to-use smartphone app and accessory can analyse sperm concentration and motility in non-specialist centres or at home.

A new smartphone-based test has proved to be 98 per cent accurate in detecting abnormal semen based on sperm concentration and motility criteria. Developers of the tool are preparing to submit an application to have the app licensed as a diagnostic test for male infertility that can be used in non-specialist units or at home.

The analyser consists of an optical attachment that can connect to a smartphone and a disposable device onto which a semen sample can be loaded. A user-friendly smartphone application guides the user through each step of testing, and a miniaturised weight scale wirelessly connects to smartphones to measure total sperm count. The developers say the test is low-cost, quantitative, highly accurate and can analyse a video of an undiluted, unwashed semen sample in less than five seconds.

“The ability to bring point-of-care sperm testing to the consumer, or health facilities with limited resources, is a true game changer,” said John Petrozza, study co-author and director of Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. “More than 40 per cent of infertile couples have difficulty conceiving due to sperm abnormalities and this development will provide faster and improved access to fertility care.”

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