Men in the United Kingdom can now turn to their local pharmacy to test their sperm count. Boots UK, a pharmacy chain numbering almost 2,500 retail outlets, just started carrying a do-it-yourself sperm count test - the Spermcheck Male Fertility Test - that retails for
￡29. 99 (US $48).
Its package resembles over-the-counter (OTC) pregnancy tests and it is said to be “as accurate as a lab test” for identifying low and normal sperm counts. The test’s accuracy rate is advertised at 98 percent or higher when confirming the existence of 20 million or more sperm per milliliter of seminal fluid. Results come in less than ten minutes.
Sperm count tests in UK clinics typically cost between ￡100 and ￡400 ($160 and $642).
The at-home sperm count test does identify quantity of sperm but cannot assess the viability of the sperm it detects. Other measures of male fertility tested in a clinical setting include sperm concentration, vitality, movement, and shape. These factors are not part of the home test capabilities.
Men who test themselves and discover a low count are urged to consult a physician for additional testing to confirm the DIY test results. Men who test in the normal range but still have difficulties with conception are also urged to seek medical advice to determine health of the sperm they produce.
The test is a private, easy way to explore fertility if problems with family planning exist. In the UK, low sperm count is identified as a contributing factor in as many as 20 percent of the nation’s infertility cases.
The test can be used to determine sperm count after vasectomy or vasectomy reversal. Men wishing to father children after vasectomy are urged to consult with their urologist about surgical reversal of the procedure.
Spermcheck is currently available in Canada and has been available on the US market since 2012. Its popularity has not matched that of home pregnancy tests, however. Men are reluctant to question their virility, even in the privacy of their own homes. Also, once tested, the results remain relatively stable throughout a man’s life whereas a woman trying to conceive (TTC) may buy many pregnancy tests over the course of her reproductive years.
Source: Nippoldt, Todd B. "Is There a Home Sperm Test That Can tell Me Whether I’m Fertile or Not?" Mayo Clinic. 9 May 2012. Web. 2 Nov 2013.