SpermCheck® Fertility is an over-the-counter male fertility test that can be purchased at Boots or amazon.co.uk in the UK for testing sperm count within the comfort of your own home. It’s designed to give men an indication of their fertility. Considering that approximately 60% of conception difficulties are due to “Male Factor” fertility issues, having a convenient take-home test is a good starting point for couples wanting to start a family.
How does it work?
The SpermCheck® Fertility test is used to analyse ejaculated sperm. Men ejaculate into a collection cup and transfer the semen into a bottle containing a solution that identifies a protein unique to sperm. The bottle is gently mixed and several drops are transferred onto a testing device.
After seven minutes the results are ready. A positive result signifies that sperm count per millilitre of semen is above 20 million. This is considered “normal”. No actual figures of sperm count are provided by the test, rather the results either indicate inside (positive) or below (negative) normal range.
Is it effective?
Although useful, experts warn men to be cautious about relying on home testing to determine their fertility. Sperm count is only one measure for determining male fertility and does not provide conclusive results.
Each of these characteristics helps to gauge an overall picture of fertility. Assessing only one characteristic fails to provide an accurate assessment.
The fact is that only half the male population with fertility problems are able to have the exact cause determined. There are men with high sperm counts that have been unable to father children, and men with low sperm counts that have successfully had children.
An Incomplete Assessment
SpermCheck® Fertility instructions recommend that if men receive a negative result from the test (sperm count measured to be below 20 million sperm per millilitre), then a doctor should be consulted for further testing. However, even in the event of a positive test, this does not rule out fertility problems.
The fact that this take-home test only assesses one aspect of sperm health is only part of the problem. Any fertility test, including SpermCheck® Fertility test provides only a snapshot of sperm health at a given time. Sperm production takes 3 months. Since lifestyle choices can significantly influence sperm health, the quality of sperm can be very variable and change over time.
For example, men that make a conscious effort to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and avoid alcohol and tobacco, will have to wait several months before these positive lifestyle changes are reflected in the ejaculated sperm.
Another consideration is the conditions of the test. A home-based test can never be as accurate as a laboratory analysis. Having sperm analysed in a controlled, sterile environment using proven testing methods is the only way to get an accurate depiction of sperm health and fertility.
Although the SpermCheck® Fertility test may offer men an insight into reproductive health, ultimately a professional assessment is much more valuable. For around £100-150 or three to five times the cost of the SpermCheck® Fertility Test, a full semen analysis can be conducted. While the SpermCheck® Fertility test is cheaper at around £30, it can raise more questions than answers.
There are accuracy problems with the test itself. Furthermore, given that only one key characteristic necessary to determine male fertility is assessed, this test does not provide an accurate overall evaluation of sperm health. Only comprehensive testing by an infertility specialist will provide the best possible assessment.
Improve your fertility with micronutrients
Several micronutrients such as vitamins, vitaminoids, amino acids and trace elements have proven themselves effective in improving sperm quantity, mobility and shape. This directly translates into better overall sperm quality and therefore a higher chance of pregnancy.
For those reasons, male fertility food supplements are most definitely recommended as the first step in the treatment of oligospermia and asthenospermia.
Also men who have not yet taken a semen analysis test will benefit from supplementing micronutrients to ensure they are able to deliver high-quality semen.
There are no contraindications or side effects to this form of natural ‘sperm boosting’.
An excellent and detailed overview of many studies can be found in Steven Sinclair’s Male Infertility: Nutritional and Environmental Considerations.
A considerable range of male fertility supplements available on the UK market.
However, the products differ widely in price and composition. Menfertility.org has compared 10 of them in terms of value for money and the nutrients they provide.
The most effective male fertility nutrients
A multitude of studies has shown that highly dosed nutrients have potentially significant impact on overall sperm quality.
Vitamin B9, better known as folic acid has been shown to increase count, motility and morphology7.
Sperm cells take 11 weeks to mature in the testicles. Only then they are ready for ejaculation.
If you adjust your diet today it will thus take three months for the better sperm to be ready for fertilisation.
You must therefore keep the diet or supplement on an ongoing basis – ideally until your partner is pregnant or you decide for a different treatment.
All of the male fertility supplements in our great test include several of these nutrients at once, albeit at a lower dose. This is a cost-effective and convenient way making this type of fertility therapy affordable and requiring taking only one all-in-one supplement instead of many.
The top male fertility supplements
- “Imhof, Martin et al., “Improvement of sperm quality after micronutritient supplementation”, e-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Epub published ahead of print.” ↩
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- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7701414” ↩
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