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How can I check my sperm count at home?

Checking your sperm count, also known as a sperm analysis or semen analysis, is important if you are trying to conceive or want to evaluate your fertility. There are at-home sperm count test kits you can use to get a general idea of your sperm count without going to a clinic. However, at-home tests have limitations compared to a full semen analysis done at a doctor’s office. Here is some key information about checking sperm count at home:

Why check sperm count at home?

There are a few reasons you may want to check your sperm count at home:

  • Screen for potential fertility problems – A very low sperm count may impact your ability to conceive naturally.
  • Avoid visiting a clinic – Home tests provide privacy and avoid the embarrassment some feel providing a sample at a clinic.
  • Convenience and low cost – Home tests are inexpensive and can be done in the privacy of your home.

However, at-home tests are limited and a clinic analysis provides much more detail.

Limitations of at-home sperm count tests

While at-home sperm count tests are straightforward and convenient, they have limitations:

  • Only checks sperm count – Does not check morphology (shape) or motility (movement) which are also important for fertility.
  • Less accurate than lab tests – The small samples may lead to less reliable results.
  • No analysis by a professional – There is no evaluation of your count by a trained medical professional.

If your at-home sperm count is low, you should follow up with a fertility specialist for a full semen analysis.

How Sperm Count Tests Work

Whether done at home or in a clinic, the overall process for sperm count tests is straightforward:

  1. Obtain a semen sample – Through masturbation and ejaculation into a sterile collection cup.
  2. Analyze the sample – The sample is put into a solution and analyzed under a microscope to count the sperm.
  3. Calculate sperm count – The number of sperm per milliliter provides the overall sperm count.

However, at-home tests use much smaller samples and do not evaluate other parameters like a lab.

Normal Sperm Count Range

According to World Health Organization guidelines, a normal sperm count is:

  • 15 million sperm per milliliter or more
  • Total volume of 1.5 mL or more
  • 40 million total sperm number or more

Counts below 15 million sperm per milliliter may make conception more difficult but does not rule out pregnancy completely. Your doctor can interpret your specific sperm count with regards to your fertility goals.

Methods for Checking Sperm Count at Home

There are a few different at-home sperm count test kit options:

Sperm count test strips

These test strips utilizes small samples of semen which react with chemicals embedded in the test strip to detect the presence of sperm. The strips provide a rough estimate of sperm count but are not very accurate. They also do not evaluate sperm health.

Microscopic sperm count slides

These kits use slides and cover slips along with an at-home microscope to visualize sperm under the microscope. You still have to manually count the sperm you see in a small sample. It takes some practice to use the microscope properly.

Computer-assisted semen analyzer

High-end at-home kits use a specialized microscope camera to record a video of the sperm sample. Software analyzes the video to calculate sperm count and movement analysis. However, these kits are expensive, around $1,000 to $2,000.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Home Sperm Count Kits

Here are the basic steps to use common at-home sperm count kits:

Sperm Count Test Strips

  1. Refrain from sexual activity for 2-5 days before collecting your sample to allow sperm to build up.
  2. Obtain a semen sample by masturbation and ejaculation into the collection cup.
  3. Dip the test strip into the semen sample for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Wait for the strip reaction time indicated on the kit instructions.
  5. Compare the strip to the reference chart to estimate your sperm concentration.

Sperm Count Microscope Slides

  1. Refrain from sexual activity for 2-5 days before collecting your sample.
  2. Obtain a semen sample by masturbation and ejaculation into the collection cup.
  3. Use the pipette to transfer a small amount of semen onto the slide.
  4. Spread the semen into a thin layer using the spreader slide.
  5. Place cover slip on sample and let settle for 5 minutes.
  6. Use microscope to view slide and manually count sperm you see within grids.

Be sure to carefully follow all kit instructions to get the best results.

Interpreting Home Sperm Count Test Results

When reviewing your home sperm count test results, consider:

  • Lower accuracy – Do not take low counts from home tests as definitive. Follow up with a clinic for confirmation.
  • Multiple tests – Consider doing several home tests over a period of days or weeks to check for consistency.
  • See a doctor – If your counts are low, make an appointment with a fertility specialist for evaluation.
  • Other factors – Remember morphology and motility also impact fertility, not just count.

Example Home Sperm Count Test Results

Home Test Results Interpretation
25 million sperm/mL Normal sperm count
10 million sperm/mL Low end of normal range
5 million sperm/mL Below normal, follow up with clinic

As you can see, lower sperm counts warrant a retest or clinical follow up.

Improving Your Sperm Count Naturally

If your at-home sperm count is lower than you would like, here are some tips to try improving it naturally:

  • Take a fertility supplement such as zinc, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin D.
  • Eat antioxidants from fruits and vegetables which decrease oxidative stress.
  • Exercise regularly to improve circulation.
  • Drink more water to avoid dehydration.
  • Quit smoking and avoid excess alcohol.
  • Avoid hot baths and tight underwear that can increase scrotal heat.

Give these lifestyle changes at least 2-3 months to potentially see benefits in sperm count. Consider retesting after making improvements.

When to See a Doctor for Sperm Count

You should see a doctor for a full fertility evaluation if:

  • You have been trying to conceive for over a year with no success.
  • Your at-home sperm count tests show very low numbers.
  • You have symptoms of infertility like pain, swelling, or lumps on your testicles.

The doctor can check your sperm count, hormone levels, and overall reproductive health to see if there are any issues impacting your fertility.


Checking your sperm count at home with an over-the-counter test kit can provide some useful information about your fertility. However, these tests have limitations so very low counts should be followed up at a fertility clinic. Home tests are most useful for healthy men looking for general screening and tracking. Improving lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and nutrition can potentially help optimize your sperm count naturally before resorting to fertility treatments. But see your doctor if you have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for an extended period of time to identify any underlying issues.