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Test and freeze your sperm from home
Want to test your sperm? Freeze it for later? It seems like there's nothing you can't do from home these days.
Some time ago, I wrote about how men sometimes found it uncomfortable to provide a sperm sample in a clinic or doctor's office. So it's no surprise that several companies have popped up to let you do some or all of this by yourself, in the privacy of your own home.
Below, a few of the options out there.
5 minute read
Order a test kit on a Monday, it will arrive on a Tuesday. Provide your sample, arrange for pick up, and it will be on its way that same Tuesday night. You will have your analysis by Thursday.
Legacy caters both to men wanting to have kids now and men looking to make sure they can have them later. They have cute names for their packages: Today, Tomorrow, Forever.
The "Today" package, which sells for $195 USD, includes one "deposit" which can be split into up to four vials. One full sperm analysis will be done, looking at volume, count, concentration, motility (how the sperm move) and morphology (how the sperm look).
They automatically put your sample into the freezer, just in case you decide to store it, and they give you a week to mull it over. Clever. Because it's one thing to decide not to store your biological material, and another altogether to decide to throw it out.
Storage for the Today men is $14.95/month, $145/year, or $595/5 years.
The "Tomorrow" package costs $995 USD. You get two deposits distributed across up to eight vials. In addition to a full sperm analysis as above, you get a sperm DNA fragmentation analysis, to look for genetic damage.
You also get five years of "unique multi-tank, multi-site storage" in order to "ensure your samples stay protected until you need them." Hedging against a freezer cutting out perhaps.
The "Forever" package is not cheap: $3,995 USD. It includes three deposits in up to 12 vials, three analyses, including the DNA fragmentation testing and any new testing that becomes available, and lifetime storage. You can also, one time only, have your sperm dispatched anywhere in the world, without charge. And speaking of travel, at least some of your sperm might be headed to Switzerland, where it would be securely stored in a, yes, nuclear bunker.
The focus here seems to be security. Dadi has devised a "tamperproof kit" and has two-factor security authentication to ensure "secure deposits every time." I had not really thought about that as a problem, but maybe it is? "We built the industry's only tamperproof end-to-end solution, because your trust is paramount and this is your future."
Just in case you want to glimpse what that future looks like, they provide 10 videos of your sperm. (I'm not exactly sure why you need 10.)
This company is quick too — they promise a 24-hour turnaround on the analysis. For the $199 USD flat fee, they throw in a year's free storage for three vials. For $599, you can store nine.
If you want a nurse to talk you through in detail what the results mean, you'll want the $299 package. The nursing support is 24/7, and they will also help "advise on local fertility centers" and whether to consider IVF. (Note: one of the partners in this is a fertility clinic.)
"We’re a men’s health company, reinventing the fertility industry," they write on their website, which, to be honest, has a whiff of the anxiety we so often see on female fertility sites: "The rates of infertility are worsening — a problem truly shared by both men and women. That’s why we set out to provide a modern, accessible solution to taking charge of male fertility. Dadi ensures that couples can use healthy, younger sperm when they’re ready to start a family, putting you in charge of your own future."
Talk to a fertility expert for free. Get your report in 1.5 days. $189 USD for analysis and $140/year for storage. Again, all managed from the comfort of your own home.
I quite like the description they provide of their technology, which gives you an idea of just how challenging from-home testing is:
But wait… won’t sperm die before it arrives at your lab?
Good question. Fellow’s peer-reviewed, patent-pending Stabilization Technology™ tackles this problem in two ways. First, we keep your sample in optimal condition so that fewer sperm die en route to our lab. Our semen analysis kit includes preservation solution that extends the life of your sample, a gel pack that keeps your sample at the right temperature, and a sensor that monitors the kit's temperature and humidity. The gel pack and temperature sensor are stored securely behind the sample container to ensure they operate as intended. Second, we developed an algorithm that accurately models the rate of sperm degradation over time, allowing us to calculate your sample’s metrics as if it was produced in a clinic.
Their process is also published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
This fully at-home test evaluates count and volume — and you don't even have to send it anywhere! It sorts your semen into "optimal" (55 million/mL or more), "moderate" (15-55 million /mL) and "low" (15 million/mL or less).
"Discreet, unmarked packaging delivered to your door — no prescription, no mailing, no waiting for appointments. Immediate,no hassle results."
There's an $89.99 USD "test the waters" version, with two tests, and more expensive $149.99 and $199.99 "improvement plan" versions, with additional tests. All the kits come with a 27-page guide to male reproductive health, and the idea is to improve the results over time, by following the advice in the booklet, and to detect that improvement.
This test can also be done in your own home — using your smartphone or computer. $79.95.
Download the app. Connect to the YO device by direct wifi (not via the internet) and give it access to some features of your phone. Ejaculate. Mix your semen with the special powder they provide, then wait 10 minutes. (Play their Sperm Trivia Challenge to pass the time.) Pipette your sample onto a slide and insert the slide into the YO device. YO will record a video of your sperm, which, minutes later, you will be able to watch. Your test results will also be ready. Tap to get the results in graph form. (This YouTube video explains it all.)
"97% accurate" and "100% private."
Post script. I'm still thinking about the bunker.
Laura Lovett. "Men's fertility startup raises $10M to expand services." MobiHealthNews. 19 April, 2021.
Alex Goldberg. "Dadi vs Legacy vs YO Sperm vs Fellow: The Best Male Fertility Kits." Fin vs Fin. 2021.
27 April - Tour, The Vagina Museum - Myths in depth - Menstruation and Cleanliness
28 April - Nova documentary on PBS - Fighting for Fertility
29 April - Free online lecture - The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome
29 April - Tour, The Vagina Museum - Myths in depth - Sex, Pregnancy and Clitorises
6-8 May - annual meeting online - Pacific Coast Reproductive Society
15 and 16 May - An online play about genetic engineering - Perfect
20 May - British Sociological Association human reproduction study group event -Contemporary Challenges in a Post-Covid19 World
7-11 June - Johns Hopkins Berman Institute - Summer Institute in Bioethics
Ongoing - Survey - Were you pregnant in Canada in the last 10 years?