Meet the tabooed crowdfunding campaign “SwimCount”
‘Launching a “taboo-product” like SwimCount via crowdfunding is a real experiment’ says Nicolaj Nielsen, CFO at SwimCount. ‘According to conventional wisdom it will be impossible to do a successful crowdfunding campaign for a male fertility test, since it’s assumed that people would be too embarrassed to share the news in their networks, and the campaign will thereby not get the much needed virality’ Nicolaj Nielsen notes.
The SwimCount test has been in development for five years. Made by Danish experts in infertility treatment. These founders have seen how men avoid seeking clarification on any possible problems with their sperm quality – partly because men generally do not like to go to the doctor and partly because many men find it awkward and embarrassing to deliver a sperm sample on command at a clinic.
‘We have simply wanted to help men with a secure, discrete and easy-to-use test that they can buy in a shop or online – exactly like women buy pregnancy and ovulation tests’ says Jacob Møllenbach, SwimCount CEO.
Dr. Marie Louise Grøndal, PhD and Laboratory Director at Herlev Hospital IVF Clinic in Denmark welcomes the new sperm test, saying: ‘The male factor is a very common reason for infertility, and an early examination of the sperm can be very useful to get the couple into treatment as early as possible. The couple’s fertility decreases with age, especially after the woman has turned 35’.
Infertility is a huge problem
Infertility is a fast and growing problem. In the US alone, one million men visit a doctor due to poor sperm quality every year. Jacob Møllenbach hopes that a collaboration can be established with the fertility clinics so that SwimCount can be used as a screening device enabling men with problems to seek help much faster. The aim – he underlines – is not to compete with the clinics to carry out the sperm test. Instead, SwimCount should be seen as a supplement to sperm tests carried out at IVF clinics and at sperm analysis laboratories.
‘Too many couples with fertility problems wait to have examinations to learn why they do not get pregnant. However, the time factor – and especially the woman’s age – is very important when it comes to infertility treatment. Women´s fertility declines dramatically with age and thus it is important to seek treatment as early as possible. SwimCount provides a fast and reliable result about the man’s sperm quality, and thereby provides a shortcut towards the right treatment instead of a ‘wait and see’ for too long’, Jacob Møllenbach explains.
The first reliable sperm home-test!
SwimCount differs from all of the other sperm tests for home use available on the market because it not only measures the number of sperm cells pr. ml, but also assesses the quality of the sperm cells measured and based on their ability to swim. The WHO considers data on these parameters essential in obtaining a correct measurement of the sperm quality. SwimCount therefore is designed to allow men to easily determine their sperm quality on a colour scale.
The use itself and the reliability of SwimCount has been tested by comparing results from current and professional laboratory analyses with results from tests carried out with SwimCount. The sensitivity response is approximately 95%.
‘We have already entered into a collaboration with two fertility clinics and a sperm bank, but we hope to enter into collaboration with many more clinics both in Denmark and abroad because we want to show the test’s validity on a large scale. These collaborations are therefore an important tool in our efforts to fully exploit the market potential’ says Jacob Møllenbach.
Read more on www.SwimCount.com
The Danish company MotilityCount ApS developed SwimCount. The company was founded in 2010 by entrepreneurs and scientists with many years of experience in IVF treatment. MotilityCount obtained funding from SEED Capital (one of Denmark’s biggest venture capital funds for early investments) and the company is further supported by The Market
Development Fund and Welfare Tech Invest. Danish Scientists and Engineers developed the SwimCount test and it is produced at Knudsen Plast in Frederiksværk – Denmark, who is known for the production of advanced technical medical equipment.
About men’s fertility:
Infertility and declining sperm quality are constantly growing problems amongst men worldwide. One out of five young men has low sperm quality, leading to problems in conceiving children. In one-third of all cases, the infertility problem is due to the man and in one-third of the cases, the problem lies with the woman. A cause cannot be found with the remaining one-third. In 2014 12.953 IVF treatments with assisted reproduction and 13.617 inseminations were carried out in Denmark (source: www.fertilitetsselskab.dk)