Guest: Marcia Deutsch
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Marcia Deutsch has a unique career background, combining medical expertise as a registered nurse with years of entrepreneurial success. MES is her second successful business venture. Prior to MES, Marcia was the founder and CEO of MedCap Medical Cost Management, a company that provided hospital bill auditing services to major health insurance companies. Marcia founded MedCap in 1988 and grew the company to become the leading medical bill-auditing firm in the Western United States.
Segment overview: In this segment, Marcia Deutsch talks about the YO app, a home sperm test that uses smartphone technology to report the motile sperm concentration (the number of moving sperm) and provides a live sperm video – all from the comfort of a smartphone.
Health Professional Radio – Sperm Fertility Test App Empowered by Smartphones
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio for this health suppliers segment. I’m your host Neal Howard thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio is Marcia Deutsch and she’s representative of a company that’s been well the gold standard and the leader in automated semen analysis and an established manufacturer of commercial grade automated semen analyzers for at least the past 20 years. She’s here today to discuss a brand new product that has been launched call YO. Welcome to the program Marcia.
Marcia Deutsch: Thank you Neal.
N: Now how are you involved in this company?
M: Actually my husband and I own the company and I’m the CEO, I handle the R&D, clinical and marketing.
N: Great. Now this company has been in existence for more than 20 years?
M: That’s correct.
N: And you’ve always been involved of in sperm analysis or are there reproductive products that you’ve involved in as well?
M: I’m involved in the sperm analysis. That’s what our focus is in this company. Prior to this I was involved in another company that I ran by myself and that was a medical auditing company. I’m actually a nurse by training and yes, that is my business right now.
N: My mother was a nurse, my daughter-in-law’s was a nurse, my sister is a doctor. So as a nurse I say thank you for your service just like folks thank me for being a veteran, because I definitely know how important you are as the first line of defense.
M: And you are as well, believe me, veterans.
N: Now this new product called YO, it’s a huge innovation and that it is uses smart phone technology in order to test male sperm count? Is that what we are talking about here?
M: Yes, what it does is it uses the platform of the smart phone which is like a mini computer. And that’s required to running algorithm to measure motile sperm concentration. Also the platform is upfront because you can see a video on the smart phone screen, it’s that exactly what they say. We’ve tested about 450 guys and that’s what we get it is the Wow factor when we first see the video. Then may also get a value which shows them whether it’s slow or moderate to normal so they both get this result and they get the video.
N: Wow, that’s incredible, an actual video. Now is this an actual animated video that is a representation of motile mobility or is it actual video footage?
M: That’s a really good question. It is actual video footage and what it does is again going back to the smart phone technology we use the video in the smart phone. What happens is a little clip which is a mini microscope, slides over the top of your phone. And it uses the light source in the video camera of your phone plus all the electronics inside the clip and you get a really good image of your sperm swimming.
N: In the past, what was the normal method via electronics?
M: There’s a couple of things. There’s the microscope has historically been the gold standard for laboratory testing as you know. And then 20 years ago we came out with automated semen analyzers and these are large devices which go into laboratories and we have a presence worldwide. And those analyzers are complex and they’re run by professionals. So 4 years ago we were asked and the market was asking for a home test and we looked around and what was available on the market were tests that were basically chemicals or reagent test. To use in your home, they were complex and they really provided just the answer to your sperm count. And from our knowledge of semen analysis it takes a moving sperm to fertilize an egg in normal conception so we wanted to come up with something different. And we used our know-how and smart phone technology which was becoming more and more common place and people are relying on it and it took us 4 years to develop YO.
N: When you’re talking about the importance of the determining moving sperm, in the past once the sperm count was determined, are you talking about the sperm count of cells whether viable moving or not? Is that the key factor that makes this innovation such a ground breaking thing?
M: Yes, exactly right. You could have a count, let’s say a hundred million cells, and they most of them could be dead, all of them could be dead. Also during the testing of sperm if you don’t follow certain guidelines, the sperm die. Sperm are little moving wrigglers and you have to be careful. With our product, you’re actually looking at the moving sperm, not just looking, it’s analyzing the number of moving sperm in your sample.
N: Talk about how this product greatly diminishes I guess the hit and miss and the time that it takes when trying to have a child.
M: Here’s the thing, fertility issues are not always the women’s fault and not only men’s fault and sometimes they can be a combination of a man and a woman who are just not compatible in that way. So what it does is, it allows the men or the couple to actually see the fertility potential of the male. This is an important thing to be done in your home as well as if you come out with a low reading, you can go to the doctor. The way of testing them presently is typically done through a urology office or this is awful an obgyn office, and he sits there and he waits for his name to be called and it’s very embarrassing and anxiety producing. In this way, he can get a very good indication of his fertility potential in the comfort of his home.
N: You talked about products in the past being a little bit complicated to be used at home as opposed to what we’re discussing right now. When it comes to home use, is it as user friendly as it seems to be on the surface? How much training does your company provide for the YO user?
M: This was our biggest challenge Neal – to make an app that somebody could follow who had no experience in the laboratory -was a real challenge. What is required is you have to of course collect your sample and you have to prepare a slide and that slide has to go into the YO clip. Now that slide took us a year to build or to design and the reason for that is we wanted something that you could just place a drop of the sample on and it would automatically load the slide. How we addressed with YO is we have animations on the app that are really cute, we have some humor in there because this is an anxiety producing test. Yes and we have simple checkup instructions and we’ve tested it thoroughly which is a good feedback for us. We actually made changes after FDA trials to make it a little bit more reliable and a little bit flow a little bit better for the public use. And we tested all kinds of people, even women tested it to see how it would flow and get us with feedback.
N: Now here’s the question, is it a seamless across all operating systems when it comes to the smart phone?
M: This is really a good question too. This what another challenge of ours. We are coming out with a universal clip which means it will fit on just about any phone. Currently we have Galaxy and iPhone related clips. That is a good question, the software is universal, the app, not universal you have to download it for your phone but it is the same just adapted to the phone. But the clips do need to be phone dependent, correct.
N: So where can our listeners go online and get more information about YO?
M: You can go to www.yospermtest.com
N: Great. It’s been a pleasure talking with you today Marcia.
M: Thank you, it was really fun.
N: Thank you. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard in studio with Marcia Deutsch, she has been with us talking about YO. YO is the home sperm test, the first home male fertility test kit powered by smartphone platform and supported by interactive app experience. Complete with sperm education animations and sperm trivia as well. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm, and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.