The Ultimate Guide to Taking an At-Home Sperm Test

The prospect of infertility can be a heartbreaking one. Is it him? Is it you?

What if both of you are contributors to the problem? Chances are you’ve already run every test you can get your hands on to determine what the hold up is on your end.

But have you thought about a sperm test? Experts say around 20 percent of infertility is because of both participants. Yet, 30 percent is due to male infertility.

If you haven’t given any thought to a sperm count test, now is the time. You don’t want to exhaust all your efforts on the female cause when it could be the male. Knowing the exact reason is critical in situations such as these.

What is a Sperm Test?

When you and your partner try to conceive, you need both of your reproductive abilities. When conception takes longer than twelve months, the doctors consider you infertile.

When the word ‘infertility’ comes up, the first reaction is to start testing the female. The tests are long, expensive, and sometimes taxing. But what if there was a quicker way to rule out one party?

That’s where sperm count testing comes in.

When you start talking about a sperm count check, your partner might feel a little shy about it. Don’t let it deter you. It’s much easier than anything you would have to go through as the female party in the equation.

The point of a semen analysis is to check the viability or health of the sperm. There are three major things they will look for:

  • What is the shape of the sperm
  • How much sperm is present
  • Movement, or motility, of the sperm

All three of these are critical factors in male reproduction. Don’t worry if they ask for more than one test. Sometimes doctors will run several tests to get accurate readings.

How to Test Sperm Count

When it comes to testing sperm, you have more than one option. You can opt for an in-office test with your fertility doctor. Or, you can do an at-home sperm count test.

In-Office Sperm Count Testing

Your partner’s semen analysis requires a lab.

Usually, they’ll have to collect the sample at the location of the testing. But in some cases, they’ll send a special condom home with you to collect the sample. Semen analysis has to be complete within one hour of collection. So, if you do the collecting at home, make sure you live somewhere close.

There isn’t much prepping for the actual collection. The only stipulation they have is that he shouldn’t have sex or masturbate for two or three days.

Again, don’t let it alarm you if they ask for another sample. Sometimes they want more to make sure the readings are correct. Or to get several readings of different aspects.

At-Home Sperm Testing Kits

If your partner is uncomfortable in a lab setting, you could opt for the at-home sperm test. You should use this kit if you’re curious. Or if you want more evidence before going to a doctor to help with infertility issues.

At-home testing is very simple and comes with detailed instructions. It’s good to remember a home testing kit shouldn’t help you make any permanent decisions. Always consult a doctor if you have questions.

The home test will tell you if your sperm count is over 20 million per milliliter. An average, fertile male has a count of 20 million sperm per milliliter or more.

Most of the home testing kits boast 10 minute waiting times. After that, you can expect an estimate on your sperm count. You should know it only tells you if the sperm count is normal. It won’t tell you the vitality, concentration, or even movement of the sperm.

Here’s a list of the most reliable home fertility kits for men.

How to Use Your At-Home Sperm Count Test

Your home kit is not used to store sperm, so don’t freeze the sperm. Keep it in a cool, dry environment to protect it. Keep it out of direct sunlight while you wait to test the sample.

Getting a Sample

Before gathering a sample, have your partner abstain from stimulation or sex for 48 to 72 hours. They shouldn’t wait too long, though.

When they’re ready to take the test, they’ll need to engage in manual stimulation. Make sure not to lose any of the sperm when transferring to the collection cup.

Testing the Sample

Once you have the sample, let the cup sit on an even surface out of sunlight. You’ll need to let the sample sit for 20 minutes. But don’t let it sit for more than three hours.

Using the transfer device in your kit, draw the semen into the device until it reaches the black line. No more and no less. Transfer the semen into the kit’s solution tube.

Mix the semen and solution together in a gentle manner. Make sure it’s mixed well. Let it stand on the counter for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add the sample to the testing well and let it sit for several minutes.

Reading Your Test Results

First, read the instructions on your test kit. Different testing kits might have specific readings.

In most kits, you’ll look at the results. First, you have to determine, based on the kit you have, if the test results are positive. If you don’t see a positive reading, it means your test was not readable. In this case, wait another 48 hours and try again.

If it’s positive, go to the next line. This one will tell you your results. If there is a definitive line, most likely a red one, your sperm count is normal.

If there is no line, your sperm count is below the average 20 million per milliliter. If you get a negative reading, you should talk to a health professional.

More About Fertility

A home sperm test is only one test you can perform. An at-home test is not always as accurate as getting a lab test. If you feel you’re still having trouble conceiving, don’t wait. The sooner you get help, the better.

Are you still looking for more about fertility? Browse our male fertility category for all the information you need.


Karen Haines is a health writer based in Stellenbosch, South Africa. She has written for magazines, websites, trade journals, and consumer health publications. Follow Karen on twitter @karehaines Protection Status