A Taiwanese start-up hopes to shake up the global fertility market with iSperm - a device that when fitted to an iPad can provide instant analysis of sperm quality. Jim Drury reports.
Sam Wang breeds boar, and he's found a way to increase his farm's breeding rate by 20 percent. He's using iSperm, an analysis device which he fits to his iPad Mini. It provides instant breakdown of his animals' semen quality. The most potent sperm can be diluted before it's used to impregnate sows, allowing each liquid vial to go further. SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) WANG WEN CHU LIVESTOCK FARM MANAGER, SAM WANG, SAYING: "After using the iSperm, which is accurate at calculating the concentration of sperm, its data can be used as a basis to dilute. Compared to the past when we depended only on our eyes, we can escalate the breeding rate about 20 percent." Wang's brother collects the sperm manually. Once a sample is collected and attached to the iPad, a backlight beams the live image to its in-built camera. SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) WANG WEN CHU LIVESTOCK FARM MANAGER, SAM WANG, SAYING: "At this moment, it can judge the concentration and vitality of sperm, but regarding its shape it still needs to be observed and analysed through our eyes. However, the strength of iSperm is that we can magnify the image of sperm so it will be clearer for us to see the performance and shape." The Taiwanese start-up isn't just interested in improving swine fertility. It's got its eyes on the human fertility market, worth an estimated 40 billion dollars. Allowing men to use iSperm at home could make it easier and less embarrassing for them to test their semen quality. iSperm could gain FDA approval in the United States early next year, and be on sale within months.