Infertility affects approximately 10-15% of couples of reproductive age. Around 25% of infertility is calculated to be due to the male partner with another 15-24% contributed to by the male fertility factor.
The male fertility factor is most commonly assessed by semen analysis in which sperm concentration (count), sperm motility and sperm morphology are determined. All have a bearing on fertility with the concentration of motile sperm correlating best with subsequent fertility.
The normal range for sperm is between 20 and 250 million sperm per ml of semen. A value below 20 million is the concentration set by the world health organisation as being below the minimum fertility standard. However a low sperm count does not absolutely exclude fertility. Sperm counts fluctuate from day and affected by abstinence. For this reason it is recommended that ejaculation is avoided for 3-5 days prior to undertaking sperm testing.
The normal range for motile (moving) sperm is considered to be 50% (i.e at least half of the sperm have typical movement). Low sperm motility of <35% can reduce the chances of conception.
Sperm that do not have a normal physical appearance may be unable to effectively move or penetrate an egg. It is common for there to be high numbers of misshapen sperm in normal human semen and therefore extremely high numbers of abnormally shaped sperm are required before fertility is likely to be adversely affected.
Left: Illustration of a normal sperm with an oval head, slender streamlined midsection and tail moving in a wave like motion.
Semen Analysis – Laboratory
Typically sperm testing is carried out under the guidance of a medical practitioner with semen samples being collected by masturbation in the fertility clinic or in some cases at home and then immediately delivered to a nearby diagnostic laboratory for analysis.
Whilst the preferable option some men invariably find this procedure personally challenging, unsettling or embarrassing. However until relatively recently there have been few other options.
Home-based Sperm Analysis ARRIVES
In recent times home-based diagnostic screening tests for sperm analysis have been introduced to the market. Initially tests, such as the Babystart™ worked by simply determining the sperm count in a sample of semen. However recent advances have seen the emergence of a self-test named FertilitySCORE™ which is capable of measuring both sperm count and motility.
The FertilitySCORE™ Male Fertility Test
The FertilitySCORE™ Kit is an easy to use, clinically proven screening test that allows the user to check both the count and motility of a whole sperm sample in the privacy of their own home.
The FertilitySCORE™ Kit comes with full instructions and every thing you need to carry out TWO separate sperm tests. Full instructions are available from our Downloads Section of the website.
Included in Kit
- Squeeze bottle with dye
- Colour Chart
- Test Tube
- Water cup with snap lid
- Instruction sheet
The FertilitySCORE™ kit is based on the principle that metabolically active sperm will chemically change the structure of a colour dye, resulting in a marked colour change of the dye from dark blue to pink.
If the colour match is in the positive group there is an 86% chance that sperm activity is normail and fertility potential is good. If the colour match is in the “negative group” there is an 86% chance that the sperm activity is below normal and pregnancy is less likely, but certainly not impossible, to occur. In which case a Physician should be consulted to conduct further testing.
In a clinical study the FertilitySCORE™ Kit was compared to the concentration of motile sperm. A 93% positive predictive power was found for semen samples containing 20 million or more motile sperm per ml. A 90% negative predictive poser was found for semen samples containing 10 million motile sperm or less per ml. Thus the FertilitySCORE™ Kit is a highly effective screening test for male fertility potential.
As there are many factors, both male and female that affect fertility a positive result does not guarantee that pregnancy will occur. Likewise a negative result does not mean that pregnancy is not possible and therefore a negative result should not be used as a reason for avoiding the use of contraception. Before drawing any definitive conclusions it is important that you discuss your results with your doctor or qualified health professional.
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2. Mahmoud AM, Comhaire FH, Vermeulen L and Andreou E. Comparison of the resazurin test, adenosine triphosphate in semen, and various sperm parameters. Hum. Reprod. 9(9): 1688-1693, 1994.
3. Dart MG, Mesta J, Crenshaw C and Ericsson SA. Modified resazurin reduction test for determining the fertility potential of bovine spermatozoa. Arch. Androl. 33: 71-75, 1994.
4. Reddy KV, Meherji PK, Gokral JS and Shahani SK. Resazurin reduction test to evaluate semen quality. Indian J. Exp. Biol. 35(4): 369-373, 1997.
5. Zalata AA, Lammertijn N, Christophe A and Comhaire FH. The correlates and alleged biochemical background of the resazurin reduction test in semen. Int. J. Androl. 5: 289-294, 1998.