Can a home sperm test tell whether I’m fertile?
Answer From Chandra C. Shenoy, M.D.
Many products on the market allow at-home testing of semen samples to check fertility. Semen is the fluid ejaculated during an orgasm. A home sperm test can tell whether sperm are present in semen. Some at-home tests also check how well sperm can move.
For a home sperm test, you collect a semen sample by ejaculating into a small cup. A home sperm test may be appealing because you can do it in the privacy of your own home. Results are often ready within a few minutes.
But home sperm tests have their limits. They typically measure only one factor related to fertility. They also haven’t been well studied to see how reliable they are.
Some common factors of infertility may be missed by home sperm tests. Having your semen tested by a lab is the best way to know whether you’re fertile. This type of test is called a lab semen analysis.
A lab semen analysis checks:
- Semen volume
- Total number of sperm
- Sperm concentration
- Percentage of sperm alive in a sample (vitality)
- Movement of sperm (motility)
- Shape of sperm (morphology)
If you have fertility concerns, ask your health care provider for an infertility checkup. Relying on a home sperm test might lead to delays in getting a diagnosis and starting treatment, if needed.
Chandra C. Shenoy, M.D.
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July 22, 2022
- Anawalt BD, et al. Approach to the male with infertility. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 19, 2022.
- AskMayoExpert. Male infertility (adult). Mayo Clinic; 2021.
- Semen analysis. Testing.com. https://www.testing.com/tests/semen-analysis/. Accessed May 24, 2022.
- Kobori Y. Home testing for male factor infertility: A review of current options. Fertility and Sterility. 2019; doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2019.01.032.