Coming soon: men’s at home fertility test

man fertility
man fertility

Researchers at the University of Twente’s MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology in the Netherlands have developed a new fertility chip that is portable and accurately counts spermatozoa. It’s a key first step in creating an at home fertility test for men, possibly as part of a first stage screening process. The research will be published soon in the aptly named Lab on a Chip scientific journal.

In the Netherlands, more than 10,000 couples each year report trouble conceiving. A sperm analysis is one of the first places that fertility doctors look for an explanation. Testing sperm quality requires stringent pre-test protocols and a specialized lab as well as the need to repeat tests as many as five times for accurate data. The costs can mount for the individual as well as the health insurer.

This new chip technology can be used at home, much more comfortable and private for men and therefore achieving more accuracy. The test itself more determines sperm concentration. The home tests available on the market now make a determination as to “above or below the norm” but do not provide a specific count like this one.

On the chip, sperm flow through a channel where electrodes are fitted. As each cell passes the electrode it is counted. Tests have shown that foreign matter will not be recognized and neither will white blood cells. White blood cells can be a factor in the quality of the ejaculate, so this count is also important and provided by the new chip.

This new technology could provide a simple, private, and cheap way for men to test their fertility. Always a welcome development.

Source: Twente University, Medical News Today


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