A Chat with Lily Elsner, CEO at UK Postal Male Fertility Test: Jack Fertility

Jack Fertility, is set to launch the first UK postal male fertility test in 2023, providing men with a convenient way to collect a sperm sample home and send it to a lab for testing, avoiding the need for awkward, inconvenient in-person clinic appointments.

From a young age, I had a passion for changing and improving the health industry by making products and services more innovative and consumer-centric. At college, I was fortunate enough to win a grant to work at the US Department of Health & Human Services and quickly realised that my passion for business was going to be a more effective way to impact the health industry rather than pursuing a career as a qualified physician.

At Jack Fertility we are on a mission to change the perception of fertility, to normalise testing and stop it just being perceived as a ‘woman’s issue’ when it’s just as likely to be a ‘man’s issue’.
Jack Fertility | LinkedIn

Tell us about Jack Fertility

Our mission at Jack Fertility is to remove all barriers to male reproductive healthcare in the UK. We aim to empower all people with sperm to take control of their fertility journeys by making sperm testing as easy as possible.

We are developing a mail-in sperm test kit, offering lab-grade semen analysis results without needing to set foot in a clinic. Upon receipt of a posted sample, our lab will send traffic-light style results and recommendations along with the next steps and an anonymous support community.

We recently commissioned an extensive survey that showed the vast majority (71%) of those under 35’s would be more likely to test their fertility if they could manage the process from home and global data has shown that male fertility testing as sperm counts and concentration are not only down all over the world, but the decline is accelerating. Counts dropped by 1.2% per year from 1973 – 2000 but from 2000 to 2018, the decline was 2.6% per year.

As this trend increases, so are expected male fertility issues, with millions more likely to have problems trying to conceive than previous generations.


How did you come up with the idea for the company and what do you think makes this company unique?

The real eureka moment really came when my co-founder Nick Shipley and his wife had a baby at the beginning of lockdown. Having studied at Oxford together we had often discussed our passion for changing the health industry. Nick’s little one spurred us to think about fertility testing and the current barriers for men around going to a clinic. With the rise and prevalence of the postal COVID test, we knew there would be a consumer appetite for home testing, especially if they could avoid the archaic clinic visits that haven’t changed since the 1970s.

Privacy and discretion are key when navigating such a taboo concept. Our postal solution offers the ultimate solution for both.

The Jack kit is set to change how men access fertility testing thanks to a unique preservation solution, meaning patients can get a fast and comprehensive semen analysis from anywhere in the UK. The easy-to-use test kit will be available to order online with discreet dispatch, allowing customers to take a fertility test without needing a GP referral or a visit to a clinic. Test results are delivered securely to customers and can help determine if they have a fertility issue that needs to be addressed.

Our team are a group of Oxford graduates who bring the perfect blend of experience across biotech, marketing and andrology. They include a qualified embryologist, our CSO Maryam Rahbar, and myself and Nick – Saïd Business School graduates with a wealth of experience in fast-moving consumer goods marketing, strategy & operations across both corporates and research labs.

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

The team at Jack Fertility has been working hard for the last year to develop this unique, consumer-centric solution that aims to empower people with sperm across the UK with a chance to take control of their fertility journeys from the comfort of their own homes.

The company came out of stealth mode a few months ago, in November last year and we have worked closely with the FemTech Lab accelerator in Q4 who have supported us during our progress to launch. I also won an Innovate UK Young Innovator grant which will help us to launch the product in 2023.

We are currently testing the kits and are rapidly moving towards launching our unique solution. It is amazing to have gone from a concept and just a dream with my co-founders to now being so close to launching in just 12 months.

What can we hope to see from Jack Fertility in the future?
Along with the launch of the first and only postal kit later this year, we are also planning to hugely increase awareness of male fertility and issues around this with multiple strategic campaigns and a big educational push.

We will also be recruiting individuals for our pilot across the South East over the next few months and are working on some exciting mainstream media collaborations.