CNN reports a new technology that will determine a man’s fertility through an app on a smartphone. While the technology is still in development by two Massachusetts hospitals, it has the potential to make infertility evaluation simpler and less costly. The app will be able to assess sperm count and motility with 98% accuracy. However, the app may have limitations. For instance, sperm morphology, an important factor in male fertility, isn’t assessed.
Austin male fertility specialist, Dr. Parviz Kavoussi cautions “Although I think it is interesting technology it raises some concerns.” He adds insights on what the technology may not be able to exam that is important in determining a man’s fertility:
- Forward progression is notassessed. Forward progression looks at the swimming in a rapid, linear, forward progressive manner, indicating what percent could actually reach an egg.
- Morphology is not examined. Morphology is the percentage of cells with normal shapes.
- White blood cells would not bepicked up. The measurement is important since white blood cells is a marker for infection or inflammation that needs treatment at times.
- Sperm agglutination is not detected. Sperm agglutination is the sticking together of cells that would require higher level lab testing to assess the presence of antisperm antibodies revealing the bodies immune system attacking the sperm.
Dr. Kavoussi also points out that there are also things that would be missed by not being evaluated at a fertility clinic. By performing a physical exam and reviewing a man’s health history, other higher levels of exams may be needed including viability testing and sperm DNA damage testing in certain circumstances.
The new technology may give a false sense of security for infertile couples who are trying to conceive, it’s important to seek professional evaluation and for male fertility testing to be performed at a high-level andrology lab, especially when time is a factor depending on the woman’s age or ovarian reserve.