Couples experiencing fertility problems may no longer need a doctor’s appointment to have a man’s sperm count checked — a home sperm test will soon join the dozens of female fertility predictors already on drugstore shelves.
The $40 SpermCheck Fertility test is already being sold online by both Walgreen’s and CVS, and will be available in brick-and-mortar stores this spring.
“There is nothing like it on the shelf,” Maeve Egner of Fusion Marketing, the company hired to help market SpermCheck, told Bloomberg. “It’s plugging a gap.”
To use the kit, a man mixes his semen with a provided solution and drops it onto a test strip. A reddish line means a normal sperm count of more than 20 million per milliliter is detected, while no color on the strip indicates a negative result. If that happens, the kit’s instructions say the man “should consult a physician about a complete fertility evaluation.”
Compared with lab tests, studies show SpermCheck Fertility is correct 96 percent of the time, but some doctors say sperm count is only one component of male fertility. Sperm shape and mobility and the volume of ejaculate can be just as important.
“The biggest risk of this test is that a guy who gets a very low sperm count might panic and end up getting more intervention than he really needed,” Dr. James Goldfarb, a fertility specialist at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland, told ABCNews, adding that since sperm counts can vary widely from week to week, false negatives might needlessly scare some couples.