At-Home Semen Analysis Kits
Many men dislike going to the doctor and may put off asking a physician for a male fertility workup. To address the need for privacy, pharmacies now sell at-home semen analysis kits. An at-home semen analysis test, such as FertilMARQ Babystart, can detect whether the concentration of sperm meets the 20 million sperm-per-milliliter threshold set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for male fertility.
While this test is an accurate measure of sperm count in a particular specimen, sperm concentrations can vary greatly from sample to sample. When couples are tested for infertility in a medical setting, men with low concentration are often asked to repeat the test two to three times before their doctor diagnoses low-sperm count. In addition, these over-the-counter tests cannot identify other powerful factors that affect male fertility, such as motility (percentage of active sperm in a sample), velocity (movement of sperm in a straight line), or morphology (shape and size of sperm). The most advanced semen screening reproductive endocrinologists offer also examines the genetic quality and total volume of sperm per ejaculate. Consequently, a passing grade on an at-home semen test cannot guarantee fertility.
The good news is that a low-sperm count on an at-home test may convince your doctor to order more sophisticated tests that can pinpoint when and if you need medical intervention.