Portable Centrifuge Lets Men Count Sperm At Home
Simple device to combat male infertility now approved by FDA
Sperm counts are falling! That’s according to several studies published over the last few decades showing a global decline in male fertility. But before you go and burn your tighty-whities, know that the causes are uncertain and the findings are controversial. What is certain is that low sperm count can lead to infertility, and, though women are often blamed, men are wholly or partially responsible for up to half of infertility cases.
Nervous? Well, a Livermore-based company has created a device they claim will give you lab-quality sperm-count measurements at home. It’s called Trak, and it just got FDA clearance to go on the market.
It’s basically a portable centrifuge. It works like this: (Note: step 1 has been omitted because we trust you to figure this out yourself.) You put a small sample of your semen into a disposable cartridge and attach the cartridge to the base. The base spins the cartridge like a little propeller, and the semen separates out into its component parts. The isolated sperm fills a visible chamber, like mercury in a thermometer, and marks on the cartridge tell you whether you’ve got an optimal, moderate, or low sperm count. The device also pairs with a smartphone app, allowing you to track your sperm levels over time and compare your results with population stats. Just remember, it’s not a competition!
Though it’s not yet for sale, Sandstone Diagnostics, the company behind Trak, is allowing people to reserve the device through its website, which encourages users to “Improve your health, habits, and sperm to reach your goals.”
In the meantime, as long as you eat organic, avoid sitting, throw away your cellphone, and go pantsless, you should be fine.