I Have Good News, Guys: An Accurate At-Home Semen Analysis Test Is Now Available!
Before I talk about his development further, let me first give a little background. The semen analysis is the fundamental test used for assessing the fertility potential of men. Although not a perfect test, the semen analysis provides detailed information that is very clinically useful for fertility evaluations in most men. One of the major drawbacks of semen analysis testing, however, is that the accuracy of the test is very reliant upon the individual skills of the lab technician who is evaluating the semen specimen.
There are two main places where semen analysis testing is performed:
1) Fertility-Specific Labs
The most accurate tests are performed at fertility-specific labs. These are typically associated with an IVF (in-vitro fertilization) lab that offers female fertility treatments as well. The IVF groups usually have a clinical side (with the doctors who see female fertility patients) and a lab side (which performs semen analysis testing and also performs IVF and sperm washes for intrauterine inseminations). Fertility-specific labs specialize entirely in fertility testing, and generally use the latest diagnostic criteria. Their technicians undergo extensive training in semen analysis techniques and produce high-quality results in terms of accuracy and consistency.
2) Hospital Labs
Most hospitals offer semen analysis testing, but the quality of these can vary dramatically. The hospital labs are often responsible for a wide range of health-related testing, and the semen analysis is just a small part of the services that they offer. Levels of technician training for evaluating sperm quality are generally lower and the latest diagnostic criteria may not be utilized. Because of this, the results of sperm testing from hospital labs are much less reliable.
For more information on the importance of accurate semen analysis testing, please visit the link below:
I always recommend that my patients use a fertility-specific lab, if possible, for the most accurate results. The problem is that many smaller towns and rural communities do not have access to a nearby fertility-specific lab. These couples must then make the choice as to whether they rely on the potentially much lower quality results from their local hospital, or drive a few hours to the nearest fertility-specific lab.
Fortunately, there is now a new option for these patients: the “@Home Collection Kit” by ReproSource. The development of new technology by ReproSource now allows patients to collect a specimen at home and ship the specimen back to the lab overnight in a temperature controlled and monitored container. A specially designed storage solution helps to maintain sperm motility and quality so that it can be accurately assessed back at the ReproSource lab. A great deal of effort has been devoted to developing the testing to match, if not exceed, the quality and amount of information provided by semen analysis testing at standard fertility-specific laboratories.
For the record, I have no ownership or financial arrangements with ReproSource. I am just excited that couples without easy access to a fertility-specific lab now have the opportunity to get state-of-the-art male fertility testing without having to travel half-way across the state.
I am personally very excited about the availability of this option, since in my area of the country, I regularly have patients who live 1.5+ hours away from the nearest fertility-specific lab. This is also a good option for men who are unable to collect a semen specimen in a lab’s designated collecting room, but live more than 30 minutes away (and therefore cannot collect at home and transport the specimen in a timely fashion).
There are other home-collection sperm testing options available, including the Trak Fertility system ($200), Yo Sperm Test ($50), and Sperm Check ($40). Several smartphone related-based analyzers are also in development. These tests are convenient and generally less expensive, and may play a role if a man wants to get a general idea if there may be a male factor problem present. However, in terms of having an accurate and complete evaluation of sperm quality, these tests do not provide nearly the amount of the information available with testing from a fertility-specific lab or the Reprosource @Home Collection Kit.
The cost of the Home Collection Kit may vary based on your insurance coverage. Shipping costs are $75 up front, and then patients without insurance coverage can pay as little as $150 for the testing. Patients with insurance coverage will likely pay even less.
For more info on the @Reprosource Home Collection Kit, please visit their website at: