Home Fertility Testing
Dual home fertility testing kits have already been on the market in the United States and in Britain for a couple of years. These tests are referred to as "dual" testing kits because they contain a test for both the male and female partner. They can be carried out in the privacy of your own home, and the producers of the kits say they are 95 % as effective as standard fertility tests carried out laboratories.
You can purchase a home fertility testing kit over-the-counter at pharmacies in the United States and in Britain. Prices may vary, but you should expect to pay something around the $100 mark. In the US, the tests are FDA-approved. They've also been approved by the relevant drug authorities in the UK. If your local pharmacy doesn't stock the fertility tests, then perhaps your pharmacist can advise you where you can get hold of them. Ordering online may also be an option. Do a quick internet search for "dual home fertility test" - you'll soon find what you are looking for.
The Male Test
The male home fertility test is designed to test the motility of a man's sperm. Motility is the ability of his sperm cells to swim in the environment inside a woman's cervix and uterus, and eventually reach, penetrate and fertilize and egg. Motility is sometimes referred to as sperm "quality." The male home fertility test artificially recreates the conditions inside a woman's body, and tests the sperm cells' ability to cope.
The test kit provides a special container for collecting a semen sample (semen is the name for the liquid that contains sperm cells. Sperm cells and semen are not the same thing - although the two words are often interchanged in everyday language). The kit also contains a testing unit. To use the kit, the man needs to ejaculate into the container for the semen sample and then wait around 30 minutes for the semen to become more liquid. Then he attaches the testing unit. Inside the unit, the sperm is brought into contact with artificial cervical mucus that has been heated to body temperature. The sperm has to swim through the mucus. Those cells that make it through are detected on a test strip. Then, like a home pregnancy test, lines appear on the test strip telling the user whether sperm motility is normal or below average.
When using the kit the man should always follow the instructions that come with it. These instructions will clearly indicate what is a normal result and what isn't. If the test produces an abnormal result, then the user should consult a doctor about his fertility.
The Female Test
The female home fertility test checks a woman's levels of a hormone called FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). FSH is the hormone that stimulates the follicles in your ovaries into nurturing eggs until they are mature enough be released and fertilized. Levels of this hormone present in the body give a good indication of ovarian reserve (namely, how many eggs are left in a woman's ovaries, and how many good quality eggs are left in a woman's ovaries).
The test kit for women is quite similar to a pregnancy test kit. This test must, however, be used on the third day of your menstrual cycle, and when you urinate for the first time in the morning. You have to urinate onto a special strip (or simply dip the test in a urine sample). Approximately 30 minutes later you will have a result. Lines will appear on the test strip indicating whether or not your FSH levels are normal or too low. You should always follow the instructions that come with the kit. These will provide guidelines as to what is a normal reading. If your result is abnormal, you should see your doctor.
The main advantages of the dual home fertility test is that it can be done privately at home (men in particular may prefer this to producing a semen sample in a clinic), and that it can give you an early indication of a potential fertility problem.
A drawback of the home fertility kit is that experts say that the test hasn't been on the market for long enough to make a scientific judgment about its effectiveness. The testing is not as wide-ranging as fertility tests conducted by medical professionals. If you have doubts or are not satisfied by receiving a normal result from the home test, you should consult your doctor.