Sperm Quality Home Testing Kits

Male infertility accounts for at least 40% of conception difficulties in couples. Male home sperm tests are therefore becoming more popular.

How does it work?

First, a sterile collection cup is used to ejaculate into. Then the semen is placed into a testing bottle containing a fertility reagent test solution. The semen must first liquify for 20-30minutes, because it is ejaculated too viscous for analysis.

Following test-specific instructions, drops of the mixed solution are placed onto a testing device OR on a plastic sheet to be placed under the microscope.

The test-strip method

Test strip-based home sperm tests are designed to measure the concentration of sperm within a semen sample. This is done by identifying and analysing protein unique to sperm.

On the test-strip results are interpreted after a set time period, usually after around seven minutes. This is similar to a home-based pregnancy test.

A positive result suggests that sperm count is in the “normal” range. This is defined by the World Health Organisation as 20 million sperm or more per milliliter of semen.

Exact sperm numbers are not determined nor are any other sperm quality parameters such as 5 normal shapes or movement; instead these tests only indicate whether sperm count is within or outside the normal range – indeed a very limited approach.

The microscope method

The microscope-based home sperm test is more sophisticated. It allows for an estimate of sperm movement / motility and can therefore give a more conclusive indication of overall sperm quality. Crucially, it can be reused several times.

Analysing sperm quality over the space of several weeks is strongly recommended in order to average out significantly unusual results.

Home Sperm Tests Comparison

 

Home Sperm Tests

  • How Does it Work?
  • Number of Tests per Kit
  • Sperm Count
    Screens for sperm count, which measures the concentration of sperm in a man’s ejaculate measured in million sperm per milliliter. A positive if sperm count is larger than the WHO minimum of 20m per milliliter
  • Sperm Motility
    Screens for sperm motility, which is the ability of a man’s sperm to move properly through the female reproductive tract (natural or internal fertilisation) or through water (external fertilisation such as IVF) to reach the egg.
  • Sperm Morphology
    Screens for sperm morphology, referring to the size and shape of sperm. Results are reported as the percentage of sperm that appear normal when semen is viewed under a microscope.
  • Semen Volume
    Semen volume refers to the total amount of semen liquid ejaculated. Between 1.0ml and 6.5ml of ejaculate per orgasm are considered normal. The World Health Organisation considers 2ml the minimum for male fertility
  • Time to Result
  • Accuracy
  • Notes

SpermCheck®

£99.00
£99.00
  • Color change
  • 1
  • Semen volume refers to the total amount of semen liquid ejaculated. Between 1.0ml and 6.5ml of ejaculate per orgasm are considered normal. The World Health Organisation considers 2ml the minimum for male fertility
  • approx 30 minutes after ejaculation
  • claims 98% accuracy
  • measuring only sperm count provides a very incomplete picture

micra
FIRST STEP

£52.00
£52.00
  • Microscope
  • 5
  • the test allows you to count the sperm yourself using a grid inside the microscope lens. This allows you to get a sperm count estimate
  • A man is considered fertile by the World Health Organization (WHO) if he has a minimum “progressive motility" (grade A+B), i.e. sperm moving in a straight line of 32%
  • a pipette is used to measure the volume (in milliliters) of the ejaculate. The World Health Organisation regards 2.0 ml as the lower reference limit for the amount of semen per ejaculation
  • approx 30 minutes after ejaculation
  • claims 95% accuracy
  • measuring *multiple* sperm parameters provides a good estimate of actual sperm quality

FertilCount
by BabyStart

£16.23two tests
£16.23two tests
  • Color change
  • 2
  • a pipette is used to measure the volume (in milliliters) of the ejaculate. The World Health Organisation regards 2.0 ml as the lower reference limit for the amount of semen per ejaculation
  • 20 - 30 minutes after ejaculation
  • claims 97% accuracy
  • measuring only sperm count provides a very incomplete picture

Male Fertility Test
by TEST POINT

£19.99two tests
£19.99two tests
  • Color change
  • 2
  • a pipette is used to measure the volume (in milliliters) of the ejaculate. The World Health Organisation regards 2.0 ml as the lower reference limit for the amount of semen per ejaculation
  • approx 40 minutes after ejaculation
  • no indications for accuracy
  • measuring only sperm count provides a very incomplete picture

In our opinion, the micra FIRST STEP is the clear winner in this comparison. Its microscope-based approach allows the kit to be reused many times and it can provide actual estimates test for sperm motility, sperm count as well as volume.

In contrast, the other three tests SpermCheck®, Fertilcount by BabyStart and the Male Fertility Test by TEST POINT screen only for the World Health Organisation minimum sperm count (20 million sperm cells per milliliter) in a simplistic YES/NO manner.

These tests do not provide any indications of progressive movement quality. None of the tests screen for the sperm shape quality, fructose, ph-value or white-blood cells.

Advantages of male home sperm tests

  • Home sperm tests can help men to gain a clearer picture of their fertility in terms of sperm count. If test results indicate a normal sperm count then it’s likely that this aspect of reproductive health is not compromised.
  • The ability to conduct the test within the comforts of your own home can be appealing for many men, especially with regards to producing the sperm sample.
  • Home sperm tests are a relatively inexpensive way to determine sperm count in comparison with visiting a fertility clinic or local doctor.
  • Easy to perform and the results are obtained quickly.

Disadvantages of male home sperm tests

  • As home sperm tests are not conducted in a controlled laboratory environment they are not always accurate.
  • Sperm count is only one aspect of male fertility. Sperm motility (movement), morphology (shapes), volume, white blood cells and ph-range are all important to overall male fertility.
  • Even if sperm count is considered in the normal range after testing at home, this doesn’t mean that there are not other fertility problems.
  • A single home sperm test only captures a snapshot of reproductive health at a certain point. This is not sufficient to determine overall fertility. At least 2-3 tests are recommended to get an understanding of sperm quality over time.

What to consider before testing sperm count at home

  • It takes up to three months for sperm to fully develop. Making positive lifestyle changes and waiting three months before testing will provide optimal results.
  • Regular ejaculation can improve sperm health by encouraging the development of new sperm and reducing DNA damage associated with older sperm1.
  • Sperm count and quality will decline with age. On average, it takes five times longer to conceive if the male partner is aged over 452.
  • Approximately 96% of semen is made up of water. Thus staying hydrated is important for maintaining semen production.
  • Testicles need to be kept cool to support sperm production. Using laptops on knees, taking long hot baths, or spending prolonged time in saunas is not recommended if you are trying to conceive.
  • A healthy diet is essential for supporting male fertility. There are certain nutrients essential for healthy sperm production. Consuming foods rich in these vitamins, minerals, amino acids and trace elements can boost fertility. Regularly taking specially formulated male fertility supplements will help to better support healthy sperm parameters.

Home sperm tests vs. fertility screening

Although home sperm tests have some advantages, a full fertility assessment conducted by a specialist is much more comprehensive and reliable. Only fully-trained and experienced professional will be able to accurately measure all sperm parameters and provide a detailed analysis and explanation of the individual man’s reproductive health.

Performed in controlled laboratory conditions, the outcomes of these fertility assessments are far more exact compared with any home-based testing.

Men wanting to start a family should firstly make positive lifestyle changes, with particular emphasis on diet.

After three months, a fertility assessment with a specialist is recommended to gauge overall reproductive health. Based on these results, it’s possible to identify any potential fertility problems and take appropriate treatment action where applicable.

Male fertility supplements combine many of the nutrients to create one powerful fertility-enhancing pill.

We have compared many products for you. 

Bibliography

  1. “http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090630075311.htm#sthash.9JAoAtK1.dpuf”
  2. “http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/86/2/724.full#sthash.iGsKYu4D.dpuf”
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