Semen is a mixture of spermatozoa (sperm) and fluids that help transport the sperm out of your reproductive tract via ejaculation through your penis.
For men: How to test your sperm at home
Home sperm tests are a good first step in male fertility testing. They provide a fast and accurate measure of things like sperm count and motility, plus have the benefit of doing it in a comfortable, private setting.
Issues with male fertility can play a part in as many as half of all infertility cases. And male infertility is often caused by low sperm production.
A semen analysis is a laboratory test that examines your semen to determine your fertility.
A semen analysis, which usually includes a sperm-count test, looks at the health and viability of a man’s sperm.
If a couple is struggling to get pregnant, a semen analysis may reveal whether part or all of the difficulty stems from a man’s sperm or semen.
What affects sperm quality?
Lifestyle can play a big part in sperm quality. It won’t surprise anyone to know that drugs, alcohol, smoking and stress can all have an adverse effect on male fertility.
What may not be so obvious is the effect of heat on sperm quality. Tight clothes, sitting for too long, or using a laptop on your lap all contribute to sperm deterioration.
How to test male fertility at home
It can be a difficult and emotional time if you and your partner are trying for a baby without success. If you are concerned that you could have a fertility problem preventing you from conceiving, it may be time to check your sperm quality.
A sperm test requires the man to collect his ejaculation in a cup. Whilst this is a common procedure that many men go through every single day, some find it embarrassing or difficult to do at their clinic.
Home tests are a popular way for men to begin testing male fertility, as they can easily be carried out in private.
What happens after a home fertility test?
A home male fertility test works by indicating whether a man’s sperm count is greater or less than 20 million sperm per mL. The test will clearly show a positive or negative result.
If the test shows a negative result, it is advised that you carry out a second test. If this also displays a negative result, you should seek advice from your doctor who will be able to advise on you what to do next. They may recommend further tests to reveal what the problem may be, and what course of action is available for your situation.
A positive result doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a fertility problem. It may be time to speak to a doctor for further tests if you still don’t manage to conceive after making lifestyle adjustments.
What can you do to improve your chances of conceiving?
Health experts recommend the following:
- Have sex regularly with your partner, ideally 2-3 times per week.
- Quit smoking, avoid drugs and keep alcohol consumption to no more than 14 units per week.
- Eat a healthy diet and maintain a good weight and exercise.
- Keep your testicles cool by wearing loose clothing and moving around often.
- Try to reduce stress and aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.
- Use a sperm-friendly lubricant during sex.
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