There are certain things in life most guys look forward to: March Madness, happy hour, naps, and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Notice that getting a sperm test isn’t on the list.
But if you and your partner are having trouble getting pregnant, testing your sperm is a wise decision. While many people focus on women when it comes to fertility issues, men contribute to 50% of fertility problems and are solely responsible for 20-30% of infertility cases.
Despite those numbers, 80% of guys don’t get their sperm tested to find out their fertility status. Don’t let that be you!
Sure, you may be a little apprehensive about the whole process, but here are some things to know that will help you move past your concerns and get tested.
Why Test Your Sperm Count
We’re not going to rehash your middle school health education class (you should’ve been paying attention then!), but the fact is that in order to get your partner pregnant you need to produce an adequate amount of healthy sperm.
If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for 12 months with no results, you should check your sperm count. It’s better to find out the issue than delay or have your wife go through various tests, which are much more expensive than a male fertility test.
How to Test Your Sperm
You already know how to supply a sample, which is why you may be apprehensive about testing your sperm count in the first place. A clinic isn’t the most comfortable place for that type of thing, is it?
Well, the good news is you can test your sperm at home—just like those home pregnancy test. SpermCheck is a home sperm count test kit that’s FDA-cleared and gives you accurate results. It’s less expensive—and less awkward—than providing a sample at a clinic. It’s also FSA- and HSA-eligible, making paying for it super convenient.
Like a home pregnancy test, it uses colored lines to let you know if your sperm count is normal or low. You can get your results in just minutes too, so there’s virtually no wait.
When to Test Your Sperm Count
For best results, you should perform the test about two to seven days after your last ejaculation. Your testicles constantly produce sperm, which are stored in the epididymis. When you ejaculate, your epididymis empties and fresh sperm flows into it.
It takes a few days to refill the epididymis with sperm, so if you test too soon, it may show a low sperm count, which could be inaccurate.
What is a Low Sperm Count?
Your sperm count is considered low if it’s fewer than 20 million sperm per milliliter. About one in 25 men have fertility issues.
Various factors can contribute to a low sperm count, such as age, as men over 35 are about half as fertile as men under 25 and it takes a man over 45 five times longer to get his partner pregnant.
Other factors that attribute to low sperm count include health conditions such as varicocele, or lifestyle factors such as smoking, stress, drug use, or obesity.
What Do Sperm Test Results Mean?
Whether you get a negative or positive test doesn’t mean the results are final. You can take the test again after making some lifestyle changes that may impact the results.
A negative result doesn’t mean you’re incapable of having children. Often making lifestyle changes can improve your sperm count. If you feel you may have some lifestyle practices that contribute to negative results, test again a few months after improving your health.
When You Should See a Doctor
If you’ve received two negative results from a fertility test, you should speak with your physician. Or, if you have positive results but still aren’t able to impregnate your partner, follow up with your doctor.
A sperm test is a good way to find out whether your sperm count—the most common male fertility issue—is a factor. A physician can perform a more detailed semen analysis, which will measure your sperm motility, sperm morphology, liquefaction time, and the pH of your semen.
You may never look forward to taking a sperm test, but at least you’ll have some peace of mind by knowing your sperm count and whether it’s contributing to fertility problems you and your partner may be having. Hopefully, you have a better idea on what’s involved and why it’s important to test your sperm count.