A California-based startup says sales of their at-home fertility kit—which is atypically for men only—are “great,” after hitting the market in early January.
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“We are seeing a nice growth trajectory as we get the word out and customers learn about our innovative approach. We are currently the No. 1 new release in Fertility Tests and Indicators on Amazon,” said Greg Sommer, PHD and chief scientific officer at Sandstone Diagnostics, which makes the male fertility testing system Trak.
The device, which retails for $199, was approved by the FDA last summer to track men’s sperm counts and rate their reproductive health accordingly.
“Sperm counts are declining. [That] has been a trend for many years. Part of the cause is from the way we test and then part of it is from all the toxics, plastics, previous exposure to lead and obesity. It’s both environmental and personal health,” Ajay K. Nangia, MD, professor and vice chair of Urology at the University of Kansas Health System, tells FOX Business.
After hitting the market in January, Trak was picked up by online retailer Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which put the product in its elite “launch pad” section.
According to the CDC, 15% of couples in the U.S. struggle to have a baby within a year of trying. Sommer says that most women often suspect themselves of causing the problem, before checking with their partner.
“Men contribute to half of all cases of infertility, but yet most men aren’t getting tested at all and especially not early in the process. There is a big need to help men know where they fall with their sperm health and their infertility and help them understand what that means and what they can do about it,” Sommer says.
This infertility “borderline epidemic,” according to Sommer, is causing Americans to spend an estimated $3-4 billion a year to get pregnant. That number worldwide is about $30-40 billion, according to a 2015 Fertility Market Overview report by Harris Williams & Co.
“This is all about tilting the odds of conception into the couple’s favor,” he says. “We also provide tips on our website on how to keep your sperm count high like avoiding … hot tubs,” Sommer says. Other factors include weight, dietary choices and stress levels.
However, some medical experts question the device’s capabilities.
“The act of [tracking sperm count] has no value really. Your sperm won’t change that drastically and if you’re having infertility problems, you need to see a semen specialist who will give you a better idea on where you stand. Not a rough idea, like this device,” Nangia adds.