Pearson Matthews - Innovation Consultants
Fertility testing
One of 200 test rigs
Testing pieces
User interface
Blending electronics hydrodynamics
Manufacturing details
Assembly
Fertell
Genosis - Fertell

Problem

Current clinical approach to couples presenting with infertility is "go away and try for children for another year". Couples who choose to leave parenting to later in life are often faced with this distressing prospect. These latter years are as crucial as fertility drops markedly in the late 30´s. The challenge therefore became to reproduce the gold standard sperm swim-up test in an OTC format with sufficient accuracy so that the clinical fraternity would accept the results, thus fast-tracking couples into infertility clinics.

Process

Starting from first principles, we researched clinical fertility techniques seeking a way to reproduce the test. Some critical issues emerged: sperm needed to be collected, introduced to the test and then kept at body temperature for 45 minutes whilst the test was run. Working with partners we developed ways to collect, heat and run the assay, building an estimated 200 test rigs along the way to prove each aspect of the test. Concepts for the user interface were produced and tested with couples to ensure the device could be used

successfully by both naïve and competent users. At the same time we needed to ensure the test could be made cost effectively and reliably and have the desired shelf life. Our laboratory was used extensively for testing by the client, considerably shortening iteration and testing.

Solution

The solution is a successful blend of electronics, hydrodynamics, ergonomics and manufacturing. Sold OTC via Boots in the UK and through pharmacies in the US it sells for around £130 and includes both male and female tests. Our involvement has continued after launch with the manufacture of assembly rigs.

Benefit

Launch was heralded with huge publicity; this was a true breakthrough product in a stagnant market. A clinical test had been successfully replicated for sale OTC in a manner that could alter clinical practice and allow couples to face infertility problems earlier whilst it was still possible to do something.