When it comes to making families, for years, the onus has been on the ladies to figure out their most fertile moments. But with CDC statistics showing that trouble in baby-making paradise falls squarely on the shoulders of the guy 30% of the time, you’ve got to wonder—what can a man do to make sure his swimmers are swimming the way they should?
The latest trend in helping a man keep up with the state of his baby batter is the at-home fertility kit. Think pregnancy test…but a bit more complicated.
There are several companies out there providing at-home fertility kits, many of which hit the market just this year. One is California startup Trak, a device that retails on Amazon for about $199 and was approved by the FDA last summer. It tracks sperm count and rates reproductive health based on the data it collects.
“Men contribute to half of all cases of infertility, but…most men aren’t getting tested at all, and especially not early in the process,” said Greg Sommer, PhD and Chief Scientific Officer at Sandstone Diagnostics, which makes Trak. “There is a big need to help men know where they fall with their sperm health and their infertility and help them understand what it means and what they can do about it.”
There’s also the YO Home Sperm Test, a smartphone-based test cleared by the FDA and released in January of this year by Medical Electronic Systems. This test stands out because it lets the user actually see sperm movement—on your phone, no less. Poor sperm mobility, abnormally-shaped sperm, or a low overall sperm count can all contribute not only to fertility issues, but other health issues as well, so being able to see your sperm can go a long way toward better understanding your health.
The YO test lets you see your results in two ways: actual video of sperm movement and a more automatic result. This test will put you out anywhere between $30 and $80.
These kinds of tests are great in that they encourage guys and their partners to pay more attention to sperm count and the possible health connotations. And there’s definitely something to be said for being able to test yourself in the comfort of your own home.
But let’s not forget that an at-home test is just a place to start. To really understand your sperm count and related health issues, you still need to make an appointment with a semen specialist who can give you more specifics about your baby-making juice and other factors that may be contributing to your family planning. So don’t rely on that smartphone alone!