Move over ovulation testing kits and pregnancy tests! Available to consumers as early as July 2010, the new over-the-counter fertility test for men, developed in part by researchers from the University of Virginia, let's guys test the strength and numbers of their sperm in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. The testing kit will be sold under the brand name SpermCheck.
And all it takes? A few drops of semen and 10 minutes for results that, according to researchers, gauges with more than 95 percent accuracy whether sperm concentration is in the normal range (above 20 million sperm per milliliter), subfertile range (between two million and 20 million), or if the subject may be infertile (less than two million).
"One of the impediments to male fertility testing is that men are reluctant to go to the doctor or to deal with the whole question of their fertility," John Herr, inventor of the test and professor of cell biology at the University of Virginia, tells ABC News. "This test allows the assessment of male fertility to occur in the privacy of the home. It's another step that hopefully will give men a greater chance to control and understand their reproductive functions."
The test received FDA approval on May 15, 2010, and will be available online beginning in July, and in-store pharmacy sales are expected to start later this year.
According to Herr, while male infertility is an issue in 40 percent of infertile couples, fertility testing is still predominantly focused on women. The hope for this product, he believes, is that it will bring more gender equity to fertility testing.
But while the at-home test makes it easier for men to begin investigating their fertility, it can only assess part of the problem. As the ABC News report highlights, though sperm count is an issue in 89 percent of male infertility cases, other causes of infertility, such as sperm speed, motility, and shape, cannot be measured by the test.