Node Smith, ND
There is an increase in awareness that infertility is just as common in men as it is in women, with the exact same end result – no baby. If there are roughly 70 million cases of infertility a year worldwide, that means about 35 million men are shooting blanks.
Several factors influence semen viability
There are several factors that influence semen viability – morphology, motility, velocity, concentration, volume, and count. In other words, are there enough of them? Are they alive? Are they good swimmers? Are they the right shape? And the only way to know for sure is to test them.
Typical required testing is expensive and requires a trip to the doctor’s office
This testing has typically required expensive equipment and a visit to a doctor’s office. It has taken time to get results, and many men find it embarrassing to make these types of appointments.
Engineers currently developing an accurate and quantitative at-home kit
To address these complaints, engineers from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences are currently developing an at-home kit that can quickly, accurately, and quantitatively evaluate semen quality using microfluidics, an app and a smartphone.
This kit promises to provide a complete analysis of fertility
Current at-home male fertility testing only give a general picture of their fertility, which can lead to many false negatives. This kit promises to provide a complete analysis of fertility.
At-home user-friendly fertility kit in the works
The kit will be user-friendly and cost less than $2 per kit to develop. It will only require one drop of fluid, which should contain between 5-10 million sperm cells. The kit is being designed to be used with any smartphone model. The kit is essentially a “sperm scope,” a lens that acts like a microscope that is able to be snapped onto the phone, it is positioned on a microfluidic chamber that will allow for analysis of the semen on the micron scale. An app will be included in the kit, and the results will be recorded and analyzed. Results will be available in about 1 minute.
When will the kit be available?
It is estimated that the kit will be available in less than 2 years.
Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.