Aidmics, Taiwanese start-up, is hoping to cash in on the global human fertility market with an iPad compatible gadget called iSperm which can be used at home.
iSperm was originally launched in August to help livestock farmers. So far, iSperm has been marketed as an "innovative boar-sperm analyzer", allowing farmers to maximize the effectiveness of breeding programmes, now founder Agean Lin plans to seek US Food and Drug Administration approval next year to expand its use in the field of human fertility.
iSperm consists of a tiny microscope that enlarges the contents of a few drops of semen placed on a mircofluidic chip lit by a backlight. The moving image is captured from the light source and then the sample is analyzed through algorithms in an iPad or phone. The app detects the sample's sperm count and motility. The sperm count analysis takes only 17 seconds.
"In the US, one out of every six couples has trouble conceiving," said Lin. Investment advisory Harris Williams estimates the global fertility market to be worth as much as $40 billion.
Lin said he aims to price the iSperm device between $100 and $200, a fraction of the cost of the commercial version.
Sam Wang, manager of a livestock farm in central Taiwan, is a convert. "Our pregnancy success rate increased by 20 percent after we started using this gadget," said Wang, who uses the device to measure the fertility of his boars.
"In the past, we had to use huge, expensive microscopes and physically count each sperm one-by-one," he said.