A new at-home male fertility product called Yo could make testing semen way less awkward. Yo turns a user’s phone camera into a microscope that’s able to zoom in on a semen sample and determine how many sperm exist and are moving, aka the motile sperm concentration. The higher the concentration of moving sperm, the better a man’s chance of fertilizing an egg. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a company turn a smartphone camera into a microscope, although this is one of the first times we’ve seen it applied for male fertility.
Once obtaining a sample, men have to drop some on a slide that slips into the connected camera device. The Yo will then record video of the live sperm while its algorithm processes how many are moving. The companion iOS / Android app will ultimately give users a detailed reading of their sperm count and what it means.
I showed the product announcement to John Amory, a doctor at the University of Washington, who specializes in male infertility and contraception. After going through its FDA-approval application, he says the device seems medically sound. He also believes it could serve as a great first step for men looking to figure out their fertility status. Masturbating in a clinic isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, so the fact that a man could produce a semen sample at home is appealing. With Yo, Amory envisions men could come to their doctor’s appointment already prepared and able to rule out extra tests. Yo could also spare women more invasive tests by first ruling out her partner’s fertility because in 40 percent of cases, Amory says, men infertility is the root cause of conception troubles.
The device is available to preorder now for $49.95 and includes supplies for two tests. It’ll ship sometime in February. There aren’t slide refills for sale, although they might be available in the future.