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A fertility test for men available in pharmacies: is it reliable?

Since Tuesday it has been possible to buy a device in pharmacies that allows men to test their fertility themselves at home. Is this new product reliable?

In infertility problems, the man is concerned in one out of two cases. How do you find out?

A first male fertility self-test

This first male fertility self-test, called SpermCheck, is used to detect the sperm concentration from a semen sample in order to determine a man’s fertility.

According to the WHO, a “normal” sperm count is equal to or greater than 15 million sperm per millilitre.

How does it work in practice?

First of all, the user has to collect a sample of his sperm, which he mixes with a special solution. He then places 6 drops of this liquid on a stick that looks like a pregnancy test.

7 minutes later (not one minute more, not one minute less) the result should be read: 2 red lines to indicate if it is positive (if there are at least 15 million sperm per millilitre) or 1 single red line if it is negative (if there are less than 15 million sperm per millilitre).

Are the results reliable?

The test has the CE mark and is 98% reliable according to its distributors.

However, experts question this reliability, as a man’s fertility depends not only on the number of sperm present per millilitre, but also on their motility. Sperm can be present in large quantities, but not of good quality: they can be abnormal or immobile.

Only a spermogram can take into account all of this information.

So how reliable are these new products? Nothing is less reliable!

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