Specialists Create a System that Analyses Male Infertility via Internet
Infertility affects roughly 15% of couples in Chile. It is estimated that annually around 6000 enquiries, related to infertility, are made to medical experts. However, not all the couples have the possibility of consulting an expert. Chile stretches over 4630km, is only 430km at the widest and has a population of 17 million. Therefore, the geography itself presents difficulties. In order to solve the problem, scientists at Instituto de Neurociencia Biomédica (Institute of Biomedical Neurosciences) have developed a centre of digital semen analysis based on Internet.
Using algorithms familiar from the field of 'machine vision', movement, concentration and vitality of the spermatozoa are analysed. This way, images or videos made at any national hospital or medical clinic can be analysed by sending it to Cedai via Internet. "The system analyses, amongst other things, if the spermatozoa have a normal morphology and wheather these move and have a 'tail'. Analysis made by the system is as accurate if the images or videos had been checked by three national experts, as we have been able to verify" explains bio-physicist and project leader Dr. Steffen Häertel. The project has been funded by Fondef (Chilean national developement funds for science and technology) and has been developedat the Laboratory for Scientific Image Analysis at the University of Chile. Currently two different 'pilots' are being tested. One at the Hospital San Borja Arriarán and the second one at the Clínica Las Condes.
The original article was published in La Tercera by Cecilia Yáñez.