Fertility News

Fellow’s Accuracy Study Published in Peer-Reviewed Journal

By The Fellow Team January 12, 2021

If you’ve been comparing different mail-in semen analysis companies, you may be wondering which product can offer you the most accurate semen analysis.

We’ll give you the TLDR: we’re the only company that has published a peer-reviewed paper showing our results are as accurate as a traditional clinic.

Why does a publication matter?

In the scientific world, it’s one of the highest levels of achievement to have your work published in a peer-reviewed journal. It shows that your work has undergone rigorous scientific methods and that a panel of experts have reviewed your findings and agree that they are valid. At Fellow, we have your best interests in mind by upholding the highest scientific, ethical and regulatory standards.

What’s so groundbreaking about the publication?

Our paper (featured in Fertility and Sterility) is the first publication to show that a mail-in semen analysis (The Fellow one specifically) can give results as accurate as a traditional clinic. While this may seem simple and straightforward to the casual reader, it’s actually quite groundbreaking. Let’s dig in.

It’s no secret that sperm cells start to die within a few hours outside the human body (if you have a microscope at home, you can test this yourself). Because of this sperm degradation, the World Health Organization has only recognized semen analyses that are performed within 1 hour of ejaculation as accurate. When creating a mail-in semen analysis - this time constraint is the biggest challenge- how do you provide the customer with accurate results when you receive and analyze the sample hours or days after the sample was created?

From day one, Fellow has been dedicated to solving this problem. To give people a true view into their fertility, we need to provide the most accurate semen analysis results. This is how we ensure our results match the gold standard:

First, we keep samples in optimal condition so that fewer sperm die en route to our lab. The kit includes a preservation solution that extends the life of the sample, a gel pack that keeps the sample at the right temperature, and a sensor that monitors the kit's temperature and humidity. Second, we developed an algorithm that accurately models the rate of sperm degradation over time, allowing us to calculate the sample’s metrics as if it was produced in a clinic.

To develop this technology, we tested varying types of preservation solutions (this includes different chemical compounds, pH buffers, ions, etc) to find one that is best in extending the life of sperm. We also performed multiple semen analyses on the same sample over hours and days with varying temperatures to measure how the sample changes throughout time and temperature changes. By plotting these changes in the samples over time, we found a pattern that allowed us to then predict how samples change over time with a high degree of accuracy.

How does Fellow’s technology compare to competitors?

Other companies haven’t published any peer-reviewed papers to show their accuracy compared to a traditional in-clinic test. We’re under the impression that other mail-in semen analyses simply report on the sperm’s quality at the time they receive it—which can be up to multiple days after ejaculation. This is a problem because these results aren’t representative of your actual fertility metrics, they may show that your sperm motility (the percentage of your sperm that are swimming) is 20% lower than what is accurate. Just think- this could be the difference between your results showing you have subfertile results when in fact, you have normal results. 😳 Our validated technology, easy to understand results, and convenient process is why Fellow is recommended by doctors. Our results are accurate and can be used to make clinical decisions, while competitors can only offer a hand-wavy view of your fertility.

Want to go deeper?

Read the full paper.

The Fellow Team

It would be nigh impossible to find a bunch more passionate about fertility than the Fellow Team. We are a group of colleagues who loves to author articles in our free time (that is, when we aren't challenging each other to games of Code Names). You can reach us at blog@meetfellow.com.

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