Fertility issues are often exclusively focused around the woman, but did you know that male factors are responsible for an estimated 30% of infertility cases? As more awareness is raised about male fertility, and technology is ever-evolving, male-centric fertility apps are now available to help you learn more about the quality of sperm you have, their mobility and the modifiable risk factors that can have an impact on fertility.
Sitting in a clinic to take a test can be nerve-wracking and awkward - these new at-home apps offer a discreet insight into some of the things that a fertility doctor would assess, such as sperm concentration and movement. But can they really replace a trip to your health practitioner?
YO is an FDA-approved kit and app combined, which work together to analyse the motility (movement) of sperm. It provides everything you need for two separate samples, including the ‘YO Clip’ that attaches to your phone to transform your camera into a miniature microscope (rest assured that your sample won’t come into contact with your phone thanks to the integrated plastic cover!). It produces a live video of your sperm, with the USP that it is 97% effective at testing how many moving sperm cells are in each 1ml of your sample, with the process taking less than 30 minutes.
The people behind the kit are industry leaders in Medical Electronic Systems, who have been producing commercial-grade semen analysers for over 20 years with 4,000 units installed across research and fertility clinics worldwide. The app is free to download but the required kit will cost you £46.95.
Glow claims to be the world’s leading fertility and ovulation tracker for women and they now want to address the other half. This fertility tracking app is less specific as it focuses on lifestyle choices and offers recommendations and advice on how to boost male fertility rates without any physical test.
Users can log daily activities and stats including sexual habits, diet and weight, which the app then deciphers to provide relevant tips. The data can be shared with their partner who also uses Glow to provide further insight. It’s available for both Android and iPhone users and is free to download, so of the apps currently around, it’s one of the best options for general information about male fertility.
Trak is one of the most expensive male fertility tracking options available, coming in at just over £140. Powered by clinical research, it’s arguably the most comprehensive at-home test and the only FDA-cleared test that measures sperm concentration into three categories - low, moderate and optimal.
It uses a unique microfluidic system to provide a precise sperm count measurement, with the Trak Engine utilising centrifugal force to isolate and quantify sperm cells. The free-to-download app then captures health and lifestyle data alongside your sperm count results (100% anonymously) with a proprietary algorithm to generate a Trak score and give recommendations on healthy changes you can make to improve your sperm count.
Are they worth it?
Ultimately, the emergence of male fertility apps are a positive development in the industry as they’re providing an opportunity to learn more about gender-specific issues. They don’t provide enough information to be used as a stand-alone fertility diagnosis - one of the biggest things that fertility doctors will look at is ‘morphology’ (the shape of each sperm), which no app-based test currently offers. However, they are great for helping you start to understand your sperm health and pinpoint potential issues before your first visit to the clinic.