Scientists have developed a new smartphone-based device to measure semen quality, an advance that may prove to be a boon in countries lacking access to fertility tests.
Researchers, including those from Massachusetts General Hospita (MGH) in the US, have built an analyser consisting of an optical attachment that can connect to a smartphone and a disposable device onto which a semen sample can be loaded.
The new test utilises the advancements in consumer electronics and microfabrication. A disposable microchip with a capillary tip and a rubber bulb is used for simple, power-free semen sample handling.
Scientists also designed a user-friendly smartphone application that guides the user through each step of testing, and a miniaturised weight scale that wirelessly connects to smartphones to measure total sperm count.
Researchers collected and studied about 350 clinical semen specimens at the MGH Fertility Centre to evaluate the test.
Overall, the smart phone-based device was able to detect abnormal semen samples based on World Health Organisation (WHO) thresholds for sperm concentration and motility with an accuracy of 98%.