- 1 What is the SpermCheck Fertility Test?
- 2 Where Can I Buy It And How Much Does It Cost?
- 3 How Does It Work?
- 4 How Is The Test Carried Out?
- 5 Why Is it Not Useful?
- 6 A Thoroughly Incomplete Assessment
- 7 Home vs. Laboratory Tests
- 8 What Are The Alternatives?
- 9 Conclusion
- 10 Improve Your Fertility With Micronutrients
- 11 The Most Effective Male Fertility Nutrients
- 12 The Top Male Fertility Supplements
What is the SpermCheck Fertility Test?
SpermCheck® Fertility is an over-the-counter male fertility test that can be purchased
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.
Where Can I Buy It And How Much Does It Cost?
USA / Worldwide
How Does It Work?
The SpermCheck® Fertility analyses the number of ejaculated sperm.
It only gives 2 readings:
- positive, if the sperm sample has more than 20 million per cells per millilitre,
- negative, if the sample has less than 20 million per cells per millilitre.
20 million sperm cells per millilitre of semen is considered the minimum sperm count for a man to be fertile by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
How Is The Test Carried Out?
The male masturbates and ejaculates into a collection cup. The semen is then transferred 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.
Why Is it Not Useful?
Although useful, experts warn men to be cautious about relying on home-tests to determine their fertility.
Do not be fooled by the claim that it is 98% accurate.
It may be accurate at determining weather the sperm sample has 20 million sperm cells per ml of semen. However, this information alone is insufficient to determine weather the male is fertile.
Sperm count is the best-known, but only one of several key measures for determining male fertility. Measuring sperm count alone therefore does not provide conclusive results.
A fertility specialist will assess a range of characteristics to determine fertility and sperm health, including:
• Sperm concentration
• Semen volume
• Sperm count (total number of sperm)
• Shape (morphology)
• Movement (motility)
• pH (alkalinity)
• White blood cells
• Vitality (percentage alive)
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 fathered children.
A Thoroughly 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 the SpermCheck® Fertility test provides only a snapshot of sperm health at a given time. The sperm production process takes 3 months. Since lifestyle choices can significantly influence sperm health, the quality of sperm can significantly vary 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.
Home vs. Laboratory Tests
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.
What Are The Alternatives?
There two alternatives to the SpermCheck® Fertility test:
If you prefer a home-based test we recommend the Micra Sperm Test. It is approximately 50% more expensive, but offers better and more comprehensive results. The test comes with a mini microscope, which allows you to visually evaluate sperm count as well as motility.
The Micro Sperm Test Microscope
The Professional Lab Test
Ultimately, a professional laboratory-based assessment is much more valuable, because it provides accurate and comprehensive numbers for all of the above male fertility factors. a local fertility laboratory can carry out a professional semen analysis for around €/£100-150 (150-200 USD). Google is your friend.
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, this test does not provide an accurate overall evaluation of overall 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.
- relatively inexpensive
- effective after three to six months
- able to increase sperm motility by up to 23%, ejaculate volume by up to 33% and sperm count by up to 215%1
- without side effects
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 D has been shown to improve sperm count, motility and morphology6.
Vitamin B9, better known as folic acid has been shown to increase count, motility and morphology7.
Zinc improves the immune system and significantly improves sperm count in combination with folic acid8.
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.
To find out more about the effects of the individual nutrients and how the various supplements compare, please read menfertility.org’s male fertility supplement review.
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.” ↩
- “http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/5/1/28.pdf” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7701414” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12568837” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8085668” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21427118” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20978181” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11872201” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21403799” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12623744” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8862739” ↩