It's not just women who are monitoring their reproductive systems using internet-connected gadgets — now men can get in on the fun too! Say hello to Trak, a portable centrifuge that offers an easy way to test sperm count at home. The company behind Trak, Sandstone Diagnostics, unveiled the product years ago, but last month announced FDA approval, with Trak now set to go on sale in October this year for $159.99.
Trak's system is pretty straightforward. Users just fill a disposable propellor-shaped cartridge with their semen, and place it in the centrifuge. This spins the sample, separating out the sperm cells (the densest part of semen) from the rest of the fluid. Users then get a visual estimation of their sperm count, and enter the information into a companion app that helps track lifestyle factors affect fertility. (To get an idea of the sort of advice Trak is giving out to users, you can check out the company's blog at dontcookyourballs.com. Basically: eat healthy and avoid long trips to the sauna.)
The company behind Trak says it's redressing an imbalance in public perceptions of infertility. Although roughly 1 in 8 couples worldwide are thought to have difficulties conceiving, infertility is commonly seen as a woman's problem. This is despite the fact that studies have shown that roughly 40 percent of infertility cases are due to a combination of male and female problems.
Sandstone says its system gives couples "the ability to conveniently measure semen quality at home" without having to bother with a doctor's appointment, and is as reliable as laboratory tests. "This FDA clearance represents a monumental milestone," said Sandstone CEO Greg Sommer in a press release. "Male infertility is a dramatically under-appreciated condition affecting millions of couples every year." Interested users can reserve the Trak system at Sandstone's website.