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Is a home sperm test useful?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/home-sperm-test/AN02181
- With Mayo Clinic endocrinologist
Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.read biographyclose window
Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.Todd Nippoldt, M.D.
Dr. Todd Nippoldt is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology and metabolism. He has special expertise in the area of hormone disorders affecting the pituitary and adrenal glands as well as the testes and ovaries. He has been a member of the Mayo Clinic staff since 1988.
He's a consultant in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition and works with patients who have disorders of the hormone-producing glands. Common disorders include diabetes, thyroid problems, osteoporosis and elevated cholesterol levels.
He's also involved in andrology, the study of male hormonal disorders, male infertility and male sexual dysfunction, and is an assistant professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Nippoldt, a St. Paul, Minn., native, has also contributed to "Mayo Clinic Health Letter," the "Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and a Mayo Clinic CD-ROM. He's a fellow in the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Society of Andrology, The Endocrine Society, The Pituitary Society and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
"I have found that those patients who have gone to the Internet and obtained accurate medical information come to their appointment with me very well informed, and the discussions regarding the evaluation and management of their condition are very productive and satisfying," he says.
"The key, however, is obtaining accurate medical information. As a medical editor, I hope to be able to ensure that accurate, relevant and up-to-date information is available for patients and their families."
Tests and diagnosis (1)
- Is a home sperm test useful?
- Abnormal sperm morphology: What does it mean?
- Male masturbation: Does frequency affect male fertility?
Is a home sperm test useful?
Is there a home sperm test that can tell me whether I'm fertile or not?
from Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.
A new home sperm test is now available that measures your sperm count — the number of sperm in the fluid (semen) ejaculated during an orgasm. The test requires a man to ejaculate into a collection cup. The semen is transferred into a bottle of solution and mixed. Then six drops are placed onto a testing device. Results are read after seven minutes. The test detects a protein found only in sperm. A positive result indicates that your sperm count is above 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen, near the low threshold of "normal."
Fertility experts express caution about using a home sperm test to assess your fertility. A semen analysis is an important tool in assessing male fertility. But it is by no means a direct measure of a man's fertility. The typical semen analysis performed by an infertility specialist assesses the following characteristics:
- Semen volume
- Total sperm number (sperm count)
- Sperm concentration
- Vitality (percent alive)
- Movement (motility)
- Shape (morphology)
No one of these characteristics alone can predict the fertility potential of a man. In fact, only half the infertile men have recognizable causes of infertility detectable by semen analysis. Many men with low sperm counts have fathered children, and many men with high sperm counts have been unsuccessful in fathering children. The only true measure of fertility is the ability to cause a pregnancy.
Instructions with the home sperm test say that if your sperm count is below 20 million sperm per milliliter (negative), you should consult a doctor about a complete fertility evaluation. However, a positive result does not mean you don't have fertility issues. Male fertility is complicated, with many contributing factors.
One situation where the test might have some value: If a woman is late in the fertility life span (older than age 38), her partner might do a quick home sperm test at the outset of trying to get pregnant, to see if there's cause for further testing. Better to identify an issue early when the fertility clock is ticking.Next question
Abnormal sperm morphology: What does it mean?
- SpermCheck Fertility. http://www.spermcheck-fertility.com/. Accessed March 14, 2012.
- Nagler HM. A solitary semen analysis can never predict normal fertility. Nature Reviews: Urology. 2011;8:16.
- Hwang K, et al. Contemporary concepts in the evaluation and management of male infertility. Nature Reviews: Urology. 2011;8:86.
- Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1445/0.html. Accessed March 12, 2012.
- Pavone ME. The progressive simplification of the infertility evaluation. Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey. 2011;66:31.
- Morbeck DE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 15, 2012.