Tuesday, March 2, 2010

SpermCheck for home uses available

Home fertility tests aren't just for women anymore. A new device that checks a man's sperm count is soon to go on sale in the UK.

The test, which targets couples who are struggling to conceive, is currently undergoing a review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S.

Dr John Herr of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, who helped develop the test, said it would suit those couples who have tried to get pregnant for a few months but aren't ready to seek professional help yet.

He said the test would tell the couple if the man had fertility problems 'in privacy with some cost savings.'

'The product will retail for about $25 (£15). That's a lot cheaper than going in and having a full semen analysis,' he said.

Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, Dr Herr and his team reported that their SpermCheck Fertility test was accurate 96 per cent of the time, when compared with standard lab methods. They tested 225 samples during the study.

Sperm counts of 20 million per millilitre of semen and above are considered normal and a test will tell if a man's sperm count meets this level and if he has a severely low sperm count of below five million sperm per millilitre.

'It basically tells the man how deep the infertility is,' Dr Herr said.

'If both strips are negative it's important that they then seek medical treatment for the infertility.'

The test works by detecting an antigen found on the surface of the head of a sperm cell known as SP-10.

It took 10 years to develop and much of the work was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
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