Reporting Mary Robb Jackson
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There’s nothing quite as wondrous as the sight of a brand new baby, but at least three million couples in this country struggle with infertility.
Doctors define infertility this way.
“If a woman is less than 35, it’s one year of attempting a pregnancy,” Dr. Joseph Sanfilippo, an infertility specialist at Magee Women’s Hospital, said. “If she’s over 35, that’s shortened to six months.”
It’s not unusual to see fertility and ovulation tests available over-the-counter for women.
But beginning in April, Walgreens plans to market the SpermCheck home fertility test for men to find out if their sperm count is normal.
Manufactured by Contra Vac, SpermCheck is already for sale through Walgreens’ online pharmacy for $39.99 – one use only.
Surveys find that men are less willing to deal with fertility issues although it’s estimated that 40 percent of infertility cases are traced to male factor infertility.
SpermCheck touts its men’s fertility test as simple and 98 percent accurate.
“I would kind of label that approach with caution,” Dr. Sanfilippo, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital, said.
“My advice is to not waste time and money with home semen analyses,” he said.
An analysis of sperm count would just be repeated by any qualified infertility specialist in a laboratory.
“It’s not only looking at the sperm count and the motility or movement and the shape [or] morphology,” he continued.
Dr. Sanfilippo says even men showing little or no sperm count have been successfully treated medically or surgically, but he knows how emotional infertility can be.
“I have couples every time the woman gets her period it’s a real emotional roller coaster.”
SpermCheck was initially marketed to men who had had vasectomies to determine risk of conception. A study at the University of Virginia found that for that purpose the correct response rate was 97 percent accurate.