Home fertility testing kits for men can now measure sperm quality for the first time. Until now, self tests could only measure the sperm count – giving no indication of sperm quality, which could mean that men’s fertility is overestimated and they are falsely reassured.
But now, IVF experts from Motility Count in Denmark have developed a new home test kit that shows whether sperm are good swimmers.
SwimCount provides a measure of motile sperm (good swimmers) and will initially be available from the SwimCount website for £39.99.
To use the test, you just add a sperm sample to the device, and within 30 minutes the colour indicates whether the motile sperm quality is above or below normal within 96% accuracy.
It will give a reading of low, medium (normal) or high levels of concentration of motile sperm in millions per millilitre.
A range of home fertility tests for women are also available.
If you’re having problems trying to conceive, then going for fertility tests might seem a bit daunting.
The NHS advises consulting your GP in the first instance – but are these home testing kits a good starting point?
Allan Pacey, Professor of Andrology (the study of male fertility) at The University of Sheffield, said: “Motile sperm concentration is the most successful predictor of fertility according to many research studies. So yes, this is a good indication of fertility.”
But he warns that the test “only measures some of the parameters that doctors use to evaluate male fertility” so will only give a “rough idea of likely fertility”.
And he says these tests are nothing new. “There have been many attempts to launch a home sperm test kit onto the UK market,” he said. “While it seems like a good idea, I am conscious that most previous attempts have not stood the test of time.
“I don’t think men are too interested in taking these kind of tests – it’s mostly their wives that are keen for them to do so.”