Can I do a DIY sperm count test?
Male infertility is the main cause of infertility in nearly 20% of all the infertile couples. It contributes to another 30% as an associate cause.
It is rare to hear of men actively pursuing their fertility, unlike women. We are in an age of information that is easily accessible. We are now keener than ever to measure every possible bodily function to ensure our wellbeing.
While women have many resources available to understand their fertility, men have not been so fortunate. However, now we are seeing more direct to consumer products that can test some aspects of male fertility. There are two DIY sperm tests available – Spermcheck™ and Trak™. We discussed Trak™ in our post ‘What Should I know before using Trak™?’
DIY sperm count testing
SpermCheck™ has been available over the counter for the last few years. The test checks for a sperm-specific protein called SP-10. The levels of this protein are used to calculate the sperm count or concentration. Sperm concentration is the number of the sperms per millilitre of the ejaculate.
To do the test, you will have to abstain for 2-7 days. Too little or too much abstinence can affect your fertility test result. When you are ready, you will have to collect the semen sample in the provided container. You then leave it for some time and follow the instructions provided in the pack. The result is available in half an hour of producing the sample.
A positive result will show two lines in the ‘Control’ and ‘Test’ section. An abnormal result will show no line in the ‘Test’ and a line in the ‘Control’ section.
Positive DIY sperm count test results
What does a positive result mean for you? A ‘positive’ test result means that your sperm count is 20million/ml or more. But, having this sperm count does not prove that you are fertile. This is because the test only measures the sperm count and not the sperm motility or sperm morphology. Also, there are many other reasons why men experience male infertility. Nearly 10% of men with normal sperm count can experience difficulties when trying to conceive with their partners.
Negative DIY sperm count test results
Now, what does a negative test result mean for you? A ‘Negative’ test result means that you may have a low sperm count of less than 20million/ml. If so, you should consider seeing a fertility specialist, especially if you are trying to conceive.
If you have a persistent low sperm count, then your fertility specialist will discuss your fertility treatment options. In view of the test limitations, a normal sperm count with Spermcheck™ will not be reassuring.