Sperm Fertility Tests: What Are Your Options?
There’s a common misconception that infertility is a woman’s concern, but the reality is, 20 to 30 percent of infertility cases are solely attributed to male infertility. So if you and your partner have been struggling to start a family, it might be time to explore sperm fertility tests. Future Family is here to help with this quick guide to navigating this journey.
When Should You Consider Getting Tested?
In general, it’s time to see a fertility specialist when you and your partner have been trying to conceive for over 6 to 12 months. And the older one’s female partner is, the earlier sperm fertility exams should be sought out.
However, conducting sperm fertility tests earlier in the conception journey (before the 6 to 12-month time frame) may be beneficial. As men can often improve their fertility via lifestyle changes, taking steps to enhance it early on may save time and money in the long run.
What Types of Male Fertility Testing Options Are Available?
Overall, there are three main types of male fertility tests. What direction you take typically depends on your body, circumstances, and the fertility clinic you decide to partner with.
A semen analysis is the first step to male fertility testing. It’s a non-invasive test where a semen sample is collected via masturbation. The semen sample is then examined under a microscope to assess the quantity and quality of the sperm.
- Concentration: The number of sperm per milliliter of ejaculate
- Volume: The amount of fluid that is ejaculated
- Motility: The movement of the sperms
- Morphology: The shape and size of the sperms
Depending on the outcomes of your sperm and semen analysis, your fertility specialist may recommend additional exams to identify less common fertility conditions. One of these exams is DNA fragmentation.
DNA fragmentation evaluates the genetic health of your sperm. Some of the main causes of DNA fragmentation are infections, cigarette smoking, drug use, and exposure to environmental toxins.
Testing involves examining a semen sample and using various testing methods like sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) and single-cell gel electrophoresis assay (COMET assay).
Anti-Sperm Antibody Testing
Some men may produce abnormal antibodies which attack their sperm and deter it from making its way to the egg. This condition is often attributed to trauma in the male reproductive system (via testicular biopsy or vasectomy, prostate gland infection, etc.).
The exam requires a sample of sperm, which is given a substance that helps identify antibodies.
Once your fertility specialist has discovered the root cause of your fertility issue, they will suggest changes or procedures that can help overcome your specific fertility challenges.
What Are the Cost Differences for Each of the Sperm Fertility Tests?
Test costs will vary depending on your insurance coverage and the fertility clinic you decide to go with.
Here are the general estimations on a couple of the male fertility test costs:
- Semen analysis: $50 - $300 (this may depend on whether you go with an in-office or at-home test)
- DNA fragmentation: $250-$500
In-Office vs. At-Home Testing
There are at-home and in-office testing options available. But before you decide to pursue one over the other, be aware of their differences to ensure you make the best choice for you and your future family:
With an in-office test, you’ll receive a sterile specimen cup to collect your semen sample in a private room. You may be instructed to come back to collect more semen on different days, so your doctor can gain a more comprehensive picture of your sperm health.
The idea of producing a semen sample at the office might be uncomfortable for some men, which is why some clinics offer at-home sperm testing kits. With this, you can collect a sample in the comfort of your own home and mail it to the lab.
One thing to keep in mind with at-home tests: You likely won’t have as attentive an experience as in-office testing. At-home tests generally only check for sperm count, which, as we discussed earlier, is only one piece of the fertility puzzle. So if you decide to pursue this route, be sure to find a test that offers a comprehensive report.
Partner with Future Family
If you’d like to learn more about fertility and the options that are available to you and your partner, feel free to get in touch with Future Family. Everyone deserves to have the family of their dreams, and we can help mitigate the costs and complexities involved in making these dreams become reality.