How do you put fertility data in men’s hands?
Every year, around 180 million aspiring parents experience fertility issues – that’s one in six couples. And globally, male fertility is declining. Sperm counts have decreased by 50% over the past 40 years. Despite this trend, less than 1% of the global population currently has access to fertility care.
Often, couples struggling to conceive turn to assisted reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), which can be expensive, inaccurate, slow and stressful. Ultimately, it still has a 75% chance of ending in disappointment.
Poor quality sperm causes conception problems. But traditional sperm count tests are only 30% accurate. Until now, there has been only one way to get a sperm test – via a lab. But the traditional testing process is outdated: a technician looks through a microscope and counts them.
Mojo Fertility’s co-founder Mohamed Taha experienced this personally, finding that three different labs returned different sperm count results – an experience he describes as “terrible.”
So, in 2017, Taha, Daniel Thomas, Fanny Chesa and Tobias Boecker founded Mojo Fertility to offer a better experience and eradicate human error from the testing process.
The company created a new piece of AI-based technology that can count sperm with 95% accuracy and compute sperm count, sperm motility and the integrity of the sperm’s DNA. But they needed help articulating the value proposition to clinics.
An EY team in Stockholm met Mojo’s founders, and together they began a brand development process and communications campaign targeting fertility labs in the Nordics.
But the EY team saw an opportunity to go much further – and target men directly.
Research showed that men only get a fertility test when they have problems conceiving. Mojo’s mission needed a pull as well as a push because only when men are worried about their own fertility will they explore it. Why not find a way to get them interested much sooner?
Mojo’s mission needed a pull as well as a push because only when men are worried about their own fertility will they explore it.
Normalizing conversations around male fertility
Initially, the EY team researched the attitudes of men in the 18–25 age group. This demographic is typically more open to thinking and talking about traditionally taboo concepts.
Despite this, the research found that men in this age bracket weren’t interested in their fertility, simply because only a few were at the point in life where they were considering having children.
So, the EY team decided to try a different demographic: 25- to 35-year-olds who were curious about being fathers one day. Within this group, there’s a huge trend of interest in health-related data such as DNA testing, preventative care and sexual wellbeing. The EY team sought to link into this “quantify me” trend and put knowing your sperm count on a par with knowing your cholesterol level.
The research showed this group to be much more receptive. So, the EY team helped develop an innovative product and service aimed at them – the Mojo Home Kit. The Mojo Home Kit is a home testing kit where men can collect a sample and ship it directly to the lab for testing.
Sperm does not travel well, so the team had to work out a way to get the samples to the lab quickly and safely. This core logistical strategy was critical for the service to work. It meant exploring product design concepts and executions that allowed for the coldest possible storage without adding mechanics to the product packaging. It also meant creating a simple-to-use digital platform that allowed for seamless, instantaneous pick-up.
To bring the Mojo Home Kit to life, the EY team designed a packaging concept based on a sleek-looking thermos flask for men to collect and send their samples in. The EY team also deployed services, including visual identity, packaging design, digital product design, customer experience and copywriting. And for the launch, the team created a highly targeted and creatively provocative ad campaign that ran in Stockholm and London, aiming to normalize the male fertility conversation.
Better tests drive more successful conception
The EY team took the home-testing kit from concept to public launch in just six months. And since then, the valuation of the company has doubled.
The kits are now available online in Sweden and through pharmacies in London, both locations where research showed the highest demand for fertility care. The collection flask that the EY team designed helps ensure that samples can be provided to clinics for assessment within a medically secure time period, preventing as much degradation as possible for the most accurate results.
The kit has been very well received by the target market, prompting feedback such as, “Very well packaged to ensure the sample stays viable for analysis. An overall fantastic service. I even got my results the same day!”
Because Mojo’s technology is automated and AI-based, it has the potential to scale way beyond the capacity of traditional labs. With a home-based testing kit, more couples can access this potentially life-changing service, which helps them take action faster.
Together, these services could help millions more couples create the family they long for with less stress, expense and wasted time. But it has even greater potential still.
“Beyond family planning, sperm health can also tell us a lot about our overall health,” says Taha. “And that’s not just the evident links to potentially fatal diseases. As modern technology and data science advance, sperm testing has extraordinary potential for improving humanity’s understanding of sperm quality’s impact on creating healthy babies and understanding genetic health factors.”
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