Whether it’s been 1 month or 8 months of trying to get pregnant, the unknown is scary. Not knowing whether it’s you or your partner that may have infertility issues can be tough for any couple.
“Male factor Infertility has been a consistent problem that currently still affects approximately 10 to 20% of couples worldwide and is responsible for ~50% of all infertility cases.” states Dr. Taylor Graber, MD, Anesthesiologist. “Male factor infertility is often attributed to poor semen quality with suboptimal sperm motility, limited concentration, or abnormal morphology.”
Through accurate evaluation, reversible causes of male factor infertility can be established, initiating a plan for assisted reproductive therapies or more invasive treatment.
While testing female fertility takes a few trips to labs (Ovarian Reserve) and doctor’s offices, testing male fertility can start off simply in the comfort of your own home!
So if you’re ready to dive in and find out how to test male fertility both in a lab and at home, I have a simple solution for you. However, let’s first discuss the physiology behind male fertility, including how the tests actually work to discover the many factors contributing to the efficacy and function of the male sperm.
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How Do Male Fertility Tests Work?
Male fertility tests have diverse options depending on the issue faced. The medical practitioner will at first examine the physical areas and take up a case history.
When visiting a physician, there are several important tests that can take an in-depth look at male fertility.
“A semen analysis is a simple test which looks qualitatively and quantitatively at the volume and quality of male sperm. The test is performed by having a male ejaculate into a sterile cup, and then having that ejaculate analyzed in a medical lab.” states Dr. Taylor Graber, MD.
Semen is the substance released by the penis with an ejaculation and contains sperm (male reproductive cells), seminal fluid, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
These substances are all critical for helping nourish the sperm cells and provide them the microenvironment they need not only to survive, but to navigate the long journey through the vagina, cervix, and into the uterus or fallopian tubes where it will encounter an egg and fertilize it.
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“It will look at the semen under a microscope, and determine the number of the sperm (sperm count), their concentration per mL (concentration), activity level (motility), the quality and direction of their swimming (progression).” adds Dr. Graber.
The semen analysis will examine a sample of semen under a microscope. It evaluates things such as sperm count, activity (motility) and shape (morphology).
- pH level: Whether semen is too acidic, which can affect sperm health.
- Semen volume: Amount of semen in the sample (in millimeters).
- Sperm concentration: Number of sperm per millimeter of semen.
- Sperm morphology: Size and shape of the sperm.
- Sperm motility: Ability of the sperm to swim toward an egg.
- Time to liquefaction: How quickly semen changes from a sticky substance to a liquid.
- Vitality: Percent of live sperm in the sample.
- White blood cells: A sign of infection or inflammation.
Making sure the semen is analyzed in a quality lab will help to ensure accurate results.
“A scrotal ultrasound can be done to check male fertility, which examines testicles and supporting structures properly for cysts, tumors, or infections. To check the prostate gland and examine any blockage in the tubes, a transrectal ultrasound can be performed.” states Dr. Alka, Gynecologist and IVF Consultant.
“Hormones, such as the level of testosterone, FSH, and LH, are tested through the blood, as the pituitary glands and testicles play an important role in semen production. Post-ejaculation unrinalysis is important to check if sperms are taking the wrong course to get out of the body through urine.” adds Dr. Alka.
“Lastly, genetic tests are run to find any existing abnormalities in genes or inherited syndromes.”
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Can I Test Male Fertility at Home?
Traditional semen analysis is complex, laborious, time-consuming, and can even be stressful for many patients due to the cost and feelings of embarrassment in performing the test in a public facility. At-home semen analysis kits can alleviate many of these burdens.
So the answer is yes, you can absolutely test male fertility at home. Labcorp OnDemand Men’s Rapid Fertility Test is an FDA-cleared test that allows for a fast, easy, and private assessment of two key factors in male fertility: sperm concentration (one way of estimating sperm count) and semen volume.
Sperm concentration and semen volume are only two factors that could impact your fertility status and chances of conceiving.
Home tests can give very initial results about sperm counts only, but there is still a lot more detail when it comes to male fertility testing. A good test, such as the Men’s Rapid Fertility Test, can dependably let you know whether your sperm count is run of the mill, low, or extremely low.
This will assist you in your next decision to test for further features of male fertility if needed.
The process is simple in that you order it online, it arrives at your door, the man ejaculates into the specimen container, and you get your results immediately! So if you have a partner that’s a little weary about getting his fertility tested, this may be a great option for you.
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Is Testing Male Fertility at Home Covered By Insurance?
Home testing can be easy and private, but it’s not typically covered by insurance. You can use an FSA or HSA to help with the costs if you contribute to one through your employer.
Is the At-Home Men’s Rapid Fertility Test accurate?
Yes. The Men’s Rapid Fertility Test was demonstrated to be as accurate as a standard laboratory test. The proprietary microfluidic system is engineered to provide the most precise sperm count measurement available.
As the prop spins, sperm are selectively filtered to provide results that are accurate to our stringent performance standards.
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Fertility problems aren’t always the issue, so don’t get too deep into worrying about infertility. It could just be that you’re not tracking your cycle correctly in order to conceive on the correct day.
However, if you’re at the point in your journey that you’d like some extra insight into your or your partner’s fertility, Labcorp OnDemand Men’s Rapid Fertility Test is a great place to start.
If you’re interested in learning more about your female fertility, check out Ovarian Reserve, Labcorp’s Female Fertility Test.
“At home fertility tests are a good starting point, but generally speaking, all clinical laboratories tests are more accurate.” states Shahin Ghadir, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.. For a complete assessment of your reproductive health, consult a physician.