With at-home testing, it has become easier for people with sperm to take control of their reproductive health. While fertility has historically been considered an issue that primarily affects the person with eggs, increasingly more people with sperm are engaging as one half of the fertility equation.
In fact, the male factor — which includes sperm health and sexual dysfunction — is the sole cause of infertility in about 30% of infertility cases and contributes to another 20% where both male and female infertility are at play. Learn more about how at-home sperm testing can provide deeper insights into your fertility health.
- Sperm testing evaluates the quality and quantity of sperm, measuring key fertility parameters, including semen volume, sperm count, sperm concentration, sperm motility, and sperm morphology.
- Many factors can impact the results of an at-home sperm test and people can improve their results by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
- Working with a fertility consultant after receiving the results of an at-home sperm test can help you identify any underlying causes of infertility, ways to improve your fertility, and whether or not sperm freezing is a good option for you.
What is sperm testing?
Sperm testing is a medical analysis to determine the quality and quantity of sperm in an individual’s semen. It is often performed as part of a fertility evaluation and can be helpful for people who have concerns about their fertility.
Benefits from using an at-home sperm test
At-home sperm testing offers a convenient and private way for individuals to better understand their sperm health and fertility status — no more awkward doctor appointments required. With the advancements in technology and accessibility of testing kits, at-home testing can deliver clinic-grade results so people don’t need to sacrifice convenience for accuracy. Testing from home is also a more affordable option compared to in-office testing.
What is the process for sperm testing from home?
Getting started with at-home sperm testing is a fast and easy process that starts with ordering a testing kit online. At Legacy, each kit comes with a sterile sample cup, a foam insulating structure to keep a stable temperature and prevent leaking during transportation, a transport media — a vial of pink fluid — to keep the sample viable during shipping, a tamper-proof strip to securely seal the shipping box, and free overnight shipping to send your sample to our lab for analysis.
Once you receive your kit at home, use it within 7 days of delivery, and abstain from ejaculating for 2–5 days before producing your sample. When you’re ready to produce your sample, wash your hands thoroughly and ejaculate directly into the sample cup. Add the transport media to the sample cup and give it a swirl to mix. Securely close the cup with the provided lid and prepare the package for shipping by following the instructions in the kit. Then, send the package to our lab with the prepaid overnight label.
After our lab receives your kit, our team of scientists will evaluate your semen sample for the key indicators of sperm health, including:
- Semen volume: Semen plays a crucial role in carrying sperm through the reproductive tract. Producing the right amount means giving sperm the best chance at reaching the egg for fertilization.
- Sperm count: A healthy sperm count means you’re producing and ejaculating enough sperm. A higher number improves your chances of conception, naturally or via fertility treatments.
- Sperm concentration: Sperm concentration is the number of sperm per milliliter of semen. This number helps us compare your sample to others.
- Sperm motility (sperm movement): Motility is measured by the percentage of your sperm that are moving properly; to fertilize an egg, your sperm must be “swimming.” This is one of the most important factors in your fertility.
- Sperm morphology (sperm shape): A sperm’s structure affects its ability to reach and fertilize an egg. Morphology is measured by the percentage of sperm that are normally shaped; abnormalities may indicate poor sperm development or genetic issues.
These results will be available in your online dashboard within 48 hours of our lab receiving your sample.
Factors that can impact your results
After you receive your results, you may be interested in identifying ways to improve your sperm health. It is important to understand there are several factors that can impact your results, some that are within your control and others that may not be:
- Age: As people age, their sperm quality can decline and affect their fertility.
- Lifestyle factors: Smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, and diet all play a part in your sperm health and fertility. Cutting back on bad habits and focusing on adopting lifestyle changes that improve your overall health can give your fertility a boost.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions — such as varicocele and hormonal imbalances — can affect the key indicators of sperm health and fertility. Treatments such as testosterone replacement therapy can also have an adverse effect on sperm production.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides and heavy metals, can negatively impact your sperm count and fertility. Individuals in urban environments and high-risk professions are more likely to be exposed to high levels of environmental toxins.
If you are trying to conceive and have concerns about your fertility, it is important to make changes to your lifestyle and address any underlying medical conditions. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and engaging in regular physical activity can improve sperm count and fertility. Additionally, avoiding exposure to environmental toxins and reducing stress where possible can also have a positive impact on fertility.
What do you do after you receive your results?
Receiving your results from an at-home sperm test is a big step in taking control of your health and fertility. If you are trying to conceive but have concerns about your fertility, you should consult with a fertility specialist. They can help you determine the underlying cause of any fertility issues and recommend the best course of action to improve your fertility and increase the chances of conception.
In some cases, the best course of action after receiving your sperm test results is to look into sperm freezing options. With Legacy, you can easily add on one year of storage for only $145. Sperm freezing may appeal to a range of individuals, including:
- people who are not ready to have kids right now but want to someday
- people trying to conceive using fertility treatments, like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- people considering a vasectomy
- people planning on taking testosterone for hormone replacement therapy or gender-affirming hormone therapy
- people preparing to undergo certain medical treatments, like chemotherapy, that may impact their fertility, and
- people who work in high-risk jobs that expose them to environmental toxins or danger.
Working with a fertility specialist can help you decide if sperm freezing is a good option to consider to preserve your fertility, and if so, whether your results from the at-home sperm test are viable.