9 promising at-home lab test startups for everything from fertility to STDs

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9 promising at-home lab test startups for everything from fertility to STDs

It’s easier than ever to skip the doctor and go straight for the at-home test these days, thanks to updated regulations and the technology to match — and for many, it’s the answer to invasive and expensive hospital visits.

A new army of startups has popped up in the last couple of years to offer you low-cost options for everything from breast cancer inheritance to HIV. Sure, those tests come with some risk, and you should probably go to your doctor to discuss any concerning results anyway, but for those wanting to know what’s available, we’ve made a list of some of the most promising tests you can order — all at the click of a button (and maybe a few drops of blood).


23andMe – inherited disease risk

Let’s start with the original at-home test from 23andMe. This is the startup that kicked it all off when founder Anne Wojcicki launched the company with Linda Avey in 2006. Now more than 2 million people have access to reports on where they come from and whether they have a number of inherited traits, from eye color to obesity. Most recently, the FDA gave the green light for the company to provide information on 10 inherited diseases. 23andMe used to offer info on inherited diseases when it started, but a long battle with the government put a hold on that offering until earlier this year.


MyLabBox – STD testing

Every sexually active person should be tested regularly, not just for your own health and safety, but to ensure you aren’t passing on dangerous diseases to your partner. But sometimes people get scared or don’t think they have the time to go to the doctor’s office. MyLabBox makes that easy by ordering a kit and taking the test at home. You can order several tests at once or separate tests for Chlamydia, HIV, etc. As its motto goes, “Safe is sexy.”


Biohm – gut health

Biohm offers a $180 gut report to determine how healthy your digestive system is based on the bacteria and fungi inside. The research behind the report is based off of Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum, the father of founder Afif Ghannoum, which found how important the relationship between good fungus and beneficial bacteria was in the gut. You can also buy Biohm’s supplementary probiotics, which offer the gut kit for free with purchase of a biannual subscription.


EverlyWell – multiple at-home health tests

EverlyWell founder Julia Cheek presented her one-stop at-home lab testing company onstage at Disrupt last year and has been on a roll ever since. This startup will let you test everything from food sensitivities to metabolism and heavy metals in your body. Tests range from $59 to $399, depending on the test you order. Results show up in your inbox after a few weeks.

I took the food sensitivity test and found out I had a problem with peas!


Thriva – health through a finger-prick of blood

Thriva is a U.K.-based startup offering several kits to test your overall health. Baseline, the company’s starter kit, tracks your risk, energy and wellness markers as they are today for roughly $62 USD (or 49 British pounds). Customers carry out their own finger-prick blood test and then ship it off to Thriva’s labs. You can also order one-off tests for your thyroid, testosterone levels and energy function.


Teloyears – longevity testing

The name sounds like it was made for an “As seen on TV” ad, but the science behind this at-home blood test looks promising. Teloyears takes a few drops of blood to determine the length of your telomeres, or strands on the end of your DNA that, according to preliminary research, determine how well or poorly you are aging. The test costs $89 and the company was founded by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, who won a Nobel prize in 1999 for her work on telomeres. She’s no longer with the company, and others in the field like Aubrey de Gray say the science is too early to tell if the initial research will pan out, but that a test like this might give us insight into what sorts of diets and exercises could increase our lifespan.


Yo – sperm health

Yo is a $50 at-home sperm “selfie” to help men determine if their swimmers are swimming right. Unlike store-bought tests you’d find at RiteAid or CVS, Yo looks at both volume and motility of the sperm to determine health. Both are key factors in determining sperm health and are part of what you’d get from testing at the doctor’s office, but for a fraction of the price.

The test requires men to add their sperm to a slide that is then inserted into the Yo device and locked onto their smartphone. Users can then look at the sperm on the screen to get a clear picture of how their guys are doing. It doesn’t touch your cell phone and may be a better alternative to what could be a nerve-wracking experience trying to get it up and out in the doctor’s office.


Color Genomics – risk of inherited cancers

Color uses 30 genes (including BRCA1 and BRCA2) to determine if you have an increased risk for the most common types of hereditary cancer, including breast, colorectal, melanoma, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, stomach and uterine cancers. Each test is a mere $249 (compared to the thousands of dollars in a doctor’s office or through insurance) and results can be determined from a spit tube ordered online, which is then shipped to the lab.

Cancer is somewhat of a combination of genetics, environment and lifestyle, and there’s not enough information on the genetic mutations in some of the 30 genes Color looks for, so buyer take heed and consult your physician.


Future Family – fertility test

Future Family is a new startup offering financing options for women who want to go through IVF, egg freezing or other fertility treatments, and it just launched a fertility age test for moms-to-be in their 30s and 40s who want to check out how many eggs they have left. Some women see a sharp decline when they hit their mid-30s while other women still have plenty of time, so a test to help you determine if you need to speed things up for family planning purposes can be invaluable. The test costs $300 (or $150 for a limited time) and you can get results in 3-5 days.