What Should I Know Before Using Trak™?

In May of this year, the US FDA approved the DIY home sperm test called Trak™. This will be available to buy over the counter in the USA beginning this fall. It is not yet available in the UK.

Male infertility is the main cause of infertility in nearly 20% of all the infertile couples. We do know that millennial men have a lower sperm count than their counterparts in 1940’s (Jørgensen, 2012). They are also more likely to need fertility treatment. Adding to this, we are living in an era of tech start-ups. There is a race to measure every aspect of human well-being and no doubt a lot of room for innovation in male fertility.

Why should I use Trak™?

This is a home DIY Sperm test device that provides some information about male fertility. If you are anxious about your fertility and reluctant to see a fertility specialist, then this is a good starting point.

How does it work?

Trak™ uses a highly portable semen centrifuge that is powered by AA batteries. A dropper is used to place few droplets of the ejaculate into the device well. The device spins the sample at a high speed. The spinning of the sample results in the separation of the sperms from the fluid and other cells.

This fraction is measured by the device and the results are available within half an hour. This information can be stored in the app.

How do I interpret the results?

The result reports back as ‘Sperm concentration’ or the number of sperms per millilitre of the ejaculate. There are three categories:

  • Optimal: 55 million/ml sperms
  • Moderate: 15-55 million/ml sperms
  • Low: 15 million/ml sperms

What if the results show a low sperm count?

Happy Couple before using trak

Men with a low sperm concentration are advised to see a fertility specialist. The fertility specialist will discuss your options to conceive.

What is the downside of using Trak™?

Trak™ does not measure sperm morphology, sperm motility, or sperm agglutination (sticky sperm). I would caution that this device or other DIY sperm test are not a substitute for detailed semen analysis through fertility clinics. The information obtained has to be interpreted in the light of the duration in which the couple are trying to conceive and their medical history.

Most apps do use some form of gamification strategy. It would be counterproductive and may lead to anxiety or negative psychological effects as you only have limited ability to improve the sperm count. Also, it may become counterproductive and may lead to unintended or unanticipated consequences on your relationship, if you or your partner tries to closely manage and monitor data.