Home testing for male factor infertility: a review of current options

This review examines the literature pertaining to currently available home semen test devices and describes their limitations and future directions.

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Volume 111, Issue 5, Pages 864–870

Authors:

Yoshitomo Kobori, M.D., Ph.D.

Abstract:

Male factor infertility contributes to about 50% of the incidence of infertility in couples. Semen analysis is key to the diagnosis of the reproductive potential of a male subject. In current practice, men must attend a clinic or other hospital facility to have their semen analyzed. However, many men are not comfortable with this process, which they often find embarrassing and expensive. To solve these problems, many devices for home analysis of semen samples have been developed and commercialized. This review examines the literature pertaining to the currently available home semen test devices and describes their limitations and future directions.


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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

2 Comments

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Alexander Quaas 2 months ago

This article is an excellent comprehensive review on the topic of home testing for male factor infertility.

While the technology of the new devices is fascinating, I am still struggling to comprehend how these devices help couples, other than maybe introducing the topic of fertility testing outside of a doctor's office.

A formal semen analysis is cheap and easy to schedule, and providers (not only specialists) should have a low threshold for ordering one for a couple that is trying to conceive.  And even if someone has done the home test, the first thing fertility specialists will do is order a formal semen analysis. 

The argument that "many men are not comfortable with this process, which they often find embarrassing" is somewhat valid, but weak. During a standard infertility evaluation, women go through countless ultrasounds, procedures, and blood tests, where they are fully exposed in front of health professionals, and exposed to significant pain and discomfort. The male partner has to ejaculate into a cup behind closed doors, a process that would appear to be relatively pain-free for most people.

If the male partner in a couple is not prepared to provide this "sacrifice" -while his wife or female partner is submitting herself to multiple procedures and tests- then maybe the couple is not ready to conceive (or maybe it is time for the female partner to start looking for alternative sources of reproductive potential...)

I am willing to change my view on this if someone can provide convincing arguments- contrary opinions welcome! 

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Taiken Jo about 2 months ago

Many men are just plain reluctant to get their semen analysis so these devices could be a starter for infertile couples, even if the results are only semi-quantitative.  

In Japan, there are no other alternative sources of reproductive potential readily available.
(There are no commercially operated donor sperm bank in Japan)

But, I get your point. It's true,,,,relatively pain-free and in the end,  it's all about the sperm for men.