Male Home Testing
Fertility tests for men which are performed by a fertility specialist in a laboratory examine three primary aspects of male fertility: sperm count (how many sperm cells are present per milliliter of semen); sperm motility (how many moving sperm cells there are in a semen sample); and sperm morphology (do the sperm cells have a healthy shape and structure).
At a fertility lab, more in-depth testing within these three categories can be done - however, thanks to home fertility tests, you can determine whether or not in-depth testing is needed by testing a sperm sample in the privacy of your own home.
Why Test At Home?
If you've been trying to get pregnant for a while, without success, a home sperm test can either help to rule out a male factor fertility problem, or draw your attention to it at an early stage. This may enable you to get help before enduring the long, drawn out frustration of failing to conceive for months on end.
Another reason for testing male fertility at home is that many men prefer to begin the process this way. And who can blame them? Fertility testing in a clinic, for a man, involves performing a private act in a relatively public arena - he is alone at the time, of course - but still, how would feel if you had to do it? Most men would probably prefer to go to the clinic only if it's really necessary.
Types Of Tests
Most of the home fertility tests available for men focus on measuring sperm count. There aren't many that test other qualities such as sperm motility. It's important to remember that a man can have a normal sperm count but still have a sperm motility or morphology problem - therefore a sperm count test may not give you all the answers you need.
A healthy sperm count is considered to be anything over 20 million sperm cells per milliliter of semen. Any lower than that indicates a possible fertility problem.
For the sake of comparison, we'll look here at three brands of home fertility tests for men which are currently on the market:
SpermCheck is probably the most recent. It's due to go on sale in 2010. This test measures sperm count only, but is particularly simple to use and provides a fast result. It measures three levels of male fertility: fertile, subfertile, and infertile. If you get anything less than a fertile reading, you should repeat the test again a few days later and then see a fertility doctor. The price of this test should be between $21 and $29.
Fertilmarq is already on sale. This test is more complicated to use and has more components. Each test can be used to test two different semen samples (i.e. a second sample produced a few days after the first). Fertilmarq also refers only to sperm count. It relies on a color comparison system to help you work out whether a sample is fertile or not. Fertilmarq costs around $40 for one test.
Micra is a home test that measures sperm count and sperm motility. Motility is considered good when more than 50% of the sperm cells in a semen sample are moving. The Micra test set comes with a microscope and slides to allow you to examine and interpret the results. Detailed instructions are provided. At the time of writing, Micra was selling on Amazon for around $80.
Generally, couples who use male home fertility tests report that the more complicated a test is, the more likely they are to end up going to the doctor anyway for a second opinion.
Where To Buy
Home tests for men are still relatively new, therefore not that many pharmacies or shops stock them. Your best option is to order online.