- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
How to Test Your Fertility at Home
Why You Might Want to Test Your Fertility
If you have been trying to get pregnant for over 6 months then you may be starting to get impatient or concerned that there may be an issue with you or your partner.
It is quite possible that there isn't a problem, as it often takes over a year to get pregnant and can be a bit longer depending on your age. However, if you have been trying for a while it is worth getting checked out by your doctor so that you can face any problems that might arise as soon as possible.
Although getting checked out by a suitable medical practitioner is the best option to find out if there is anything wrong, you may also want to check certain levels of yourself and your partner at home, and there are ways of doing this.
Home Fertility Tests
There are a number of reasons why you may want to check your own fertility at home, including:
- You may be of 'advanced maternal age' - which is classed as being over 35, in which case your fertility may be naturally decreasing.
- You may have some issues, for example your mother went through early menopause, and you want to do a test at home yourself without having to go to the doctor quite yet.
- Your doctor may not do any tests until you have been trying to get pregnant for 6 months or a year and you want to do what tests you can at home first to prepare yourself.
- You may only have a certain amount of time to get pregnant and want to ensure everything is working as soon as you can (e.g. partner deployment).
Therefore, if you want to do some testing at home, there are two sets of home fertility tests that can provide you with some preliminary results.
- The first is a test for the male partner which checks on the levels of the sperm they are producing.
- The second is a test for the female partner which checks the level of FSH hormone in the body.
Home Sperm Test
Sperm counts have decreased significantly in the last 40 years* and hence can be a factor in a large number of couples who are having difficulty in conceiving. Therefore it is advisable to get a semen analysis if you are having difficulty getting pregnant, just in case there is an issue.
There is even the rare possibility of azoospermia where the semen contains no sperm (there are treatments for this so don't panic if this appears to be the case) and doing a home check may be a starting point to look at these issues.
The best option is to get a semen analysis done by either your doctor or a clinic. When you are tested, you can find out not only levels in terms of numbers, but also levels of vitality (live sperm), mortility and morphology of the sperm - the average levels in fertile men are 39 million, 58%, 40% and 4% respectively.** , all of which affect fertility levels.
If you do not want to go as far as getting a semen analysis by a doctor, or if you are just curious to get a general result in the privacy of your own home before getting tested, then you could buy a . male fertility test
This test needs to be conducted very specifically according to the instructions, so you must read those carefully to get an accurate result. For example it must be between 2 and 7 days since your last ejaculation. You mix a sample of semen with the special solution and use that as drops on a test device. All this is done in specified intervals and with specified amounts so you really need to do this in some quiet time at home and not when you are in a rush!
Everything that you need to collect the sample and test it is included in the package so that you can do the test in your own home.
My partner got a positive result from this test (which indicates concentration of sperm in excess of 20 million) but also went on to get a more detailed semen analysis done at a clinic. This showed a result of 21.2 million so confirming the SpermCheck test.
A home sperm test is a good start to get an idea about the general numbers of sperm that you or your partner may have. If you are in any doubt about the result, or if it is negative, then be sure to contact your doctor for further tests. There is also a helpline in the SpermCheck box that you can call if you don't understand the results given.
*Hagai Levine, Niels Jørgensen, Anderson Martino-Andrade, Jaime Mendiola, Dan Weksler-Derri, Irina Mindlis, Rachel Pinotti, Shanna H. Swan; Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis, Human Reproduction Update, https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmx022
**Trevor G. Cooper, Elizabeth Noonan, Sigrid von Eckardstein, Jacques Auger, H.W. Gordon Baker, Hermann M. Behre, Trine B. Haugen, Thinus Kruger, Christina Wang, Michael T. Mbizvo, Kirsten M. Vogelsong; World Health Organization reference values for human semen characteristics, Human Reproduction Update, Volume 16, Issue 3, 1 January 2010, Pages 231–245, https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmp048
Female Home Fertility FSH Test
For women the fertility test is based on the level of FSH in the urine (Follicle Stimulating Hormone). As a woman gets older and/or nears the menopause the levels of FSH increase (so higher levels are a bad thing)*. Therefore by testing the FSH levels on a certain day of your cycle (usually day 3) you can get an idea of how close to menopause you may be and hence the likelihood of getting pregnant.
This is a that takes 30 minutes to give the results. It is very similar to a pregnancy test in terms of the fact that you just need to pee on a stick. Although the detection of FSH levels may not uncover all fertility problems, it is a good guide to whether or not a woman is still producing eggs. simple test
I took this test because I was over 40 and wanted to check my FSH levels while I was waiting for a doctor's appointment for tests. When I took the FSH test the result came out with only a very faint line. This indicated a reasonably low FSH which is good.
Subsequently, a short while after doing these tests, I got an official FSH test done at the doctor and it came out at a level of 7.4, which is considered a normal level (i.e. not elevated). So the fact that the home fertility tests came out with pretty much the same indication leads me to believe that in my case the test was pretty accurate.
Of course there may be other issues for example checking the Fallopian tubes for blockages and treating problems like endometriosis and PCOS but this test is useful if you are over 35 in particular.
* Santoro N, Randolph JF., Jr Reproductive hormones and the menopause transition. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2011;38:455–66. [PMC free article] [PubMed] states "A monotropic rise in FSH is considered the endocrinological hallmark of the MT" (menopausal transition).
What if the Test Results are Bad?
If you get a bad test result from either of these tests - i.e. a low sperm count or a high FSH level then it is advisable (if you haven't already) to get checked out by a doctor so that you can get an accurate analysis of the problem.
Getting tested will also clarify whether the home tests have been accurate and you will likely also be tested for other things.
The sooner you get tested for any problems and issued are identified, the sooner you can address them and get them sorted out.
Also, you should not rely on these tests alone if you continue to have trouble conceiving. They are available just to give you an indication, not a definitive test result.