When the topic of fertility comes up, we tend to automatically think of women. Future Family is trying to open up the discussion to include men, as it argues that in almost 40 percent of infertility cases, the male partner is either the sole or contributing cause. The Silicon Valley-based startup today announced the launch of its Sperm Activity Test (SAT) at TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Battlefield.
“In today’s system of care, when a couple is unable to conceive, too often the woman goes in for testing, and may even undergo expensive, painful IVF treatments, before ever realizing the problem is related to the man,” said Future Family cofounder and CEO Claire Tomkins, in a statement.
To solve this, the startup is trying to provide easier access to male fertility tests. Men can order the SAT online and provide a sperm sample at a local lab. Results are delivered after three to five days and are discussed with a personal nurse concierge, who explains the results and discusses any next steps. The test measures four factors relating to sperm health: volume, concentration, motility, and morphology. It is available for preorder now at an early bird price of $199 and will start shipping this fall.
According to a recent analysis, men in Westernized nations are on the brink of a serious fertility crisis, with sperm counts nosediving by more than 50 percent over the last 40 years.
“Most men don’t realize it, but behaviors like binge drinking, smoking, and even putting your cell phone in your front pocket can lead to infertility,” said Future Family cofounder and COO Eve Blossom, in a statement. “We’re working to give men a safe, healthy space to learn about their fertility and start planning, just as women are expected to do.”
According to Blossom, male fertility tests currently on the market require a doctor visit and referral and a separate trip to the lab and often provide results without any support or explanation. What’s more, many at-home tests offer inconclusive and potentially misleading results as they exclusively measure sperm count, which is only one indicator of male fertility.
When questioned onstage about the validity of their tests, the founders replied: “We’re not a laboratory company. We’re using the tests that the top doctors and clinics use and making them available online.”
The Family First team launched a fertility test for women back in June. Since then, it claims that thousands of women have signed up to try the Fertility Age Test and have inquired about egg freezing and IVF services.
The fertility sector is indeed growing for women — whether it’s through fertility-tracking apps like Clue, Glow, or Natural Cycles, at-home fertility monitoring devices like Ava, or at-home fertility tests like Modern Fertility.
Future Family is betting that the fertility sector for men won’t be too far behind.