Those men who find it too embarrassing to visit a fertility clinic to test the health of their sperm have reasons to cheer, thanks to a new smartphone-based system that allows men to have a semen test at home to know about potential fertility problems.
Using a low-cost lens, Yoshitomo Kobori from Dokkyo Medical University Koshigaya Hospital in Japan and his colleagues at the University of Illinois in Chicago created a smartphone microscope to analyse semen samples at home, with help from an app that is in development.
Clipped on to the camera of a smartphone, the lens magnifies an image by 555 times - perfect for looking at sperm cells, New Scientist reported.
"I thought a smartphone microscope could be an easy way to look at problems with male fertility," Kobori was quoted as saying.
To do a home test, a man would have to wait for around five minutes after ejaculation for the semen to liquefy, then apply a small amount to a plastic sheet and press it against the microscope for inspection.
The camera can take a short video clip of the sperm which can then be uploaded to a computer for further analysis to see if it meets the key indicators of male fertility.
This can be done without getting semen on to the phone, Kobori said.
The smartphone microscope is already commercially available in Japan, and Kobori hopes it will soon be on sale in other countries, the report said.