Shooting Blanks? Sperm Testing Kit Coming To A Drugstore Near You

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sperm testing kitAs anyone who’s ever struggled with infertility can tell you, the onus often falls on a woman to get tested long before her male partner books a doctor’s appointment of his own. Which is kind of insane, given that half of infertility problems involve the man. That’s why countless couples will be happy to know that come April, they can grab a sperm-testing kit at their local Walgreen’s or CVS.

The $40 kit, called SpermCheck Fertility, is already available online. But this is the first time they’ll be sold alongside ovulation sticks and pregnancy kits on store shelves. It’s a big deal because, like it or not, many men would choose a trip to the drugstore over the urologist any day of the week.

To test his sperm count, a man mixes his semen with a solution contained in the kit and then drops it onto a test strip. According to the kit’s instructions, a reddish line means his sperm count is normal (above 20 million per milliliter), while no color means it’s negative – and time to call the doctor for further testing.

“The biggest risk of this test is that a guy who gets a very low sperm count might panic and end up getting more intervention than he really needed,” said fertility specialist Dr. James Goldfarb. “It might reassure some couples, but it might scare some couples, too.”

The test’s not fool-proof, of course, and experts warn that sperm count is only one aspect of male fertility. Sperm counts can also vary widely from week to week, which can get confusing. But, at the very least, a negative test result will cause couples to spring to action sooner rather than later. Plus, it could save the woman a lot of unnecessary testing, at least right off the bat.