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Men Can Now Test Their Sperm From the Comfort of Their Home

Photograph by Twenty20

Did you know that approximately 40 percent of fertility problems could be due, in part, to male factors, according to the Society for Reproductive Medicine?

And, yes, it sounds weird because men produce millions of sperm every time they ejaculate and only one little guy has to make it to a woman’s egg in order to fertilize it and make a baby. But sometimes his swimmers are sluggish or don’t swim at all, or there aren’t enough of them or they are shaped weirdly.

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In the past, Doctors have often been slow to point to the man for causes of infertility. And men—nervous about what the results may show—are often afraid and uncomfortable to provide semen for analysis.

Enter a new at-home male fertility testing device called Trak, which uses “centrifical microfluidics," meaning it literally spins the sperm sample and measures the sperm concentration (a.k.a. how much sperm there are.) A test measuring how fast the sperm are will also be released soon.

Trak, which starts shipping in October, provides four tests for $159.99. This is a steal considering lab semen tests are a couple of hundred dollars and often two tests are required to provide accurate results. Trak recently received FDA clearance.

The device also helps analyze the results, telling a man whether his count is “optimal,” “moderate” or “low." The device then sends it to a smartphone app and lets a man monitor his sperm count over time—and hopefully improve his health and factors that affect sperm by modifying risk factors like alcohol, stress, heat and obesity.

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Will the Trak system supplant lab testing? Probably not, just the way an at-home pregnancy test is the first line before a blood test at the doctor’s office. But it definitely should put the spotlight on men’s health, fertility and possible contribution to fertility problems.

Which is a good thing for everyone.

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