What to look for when buying a home sperm test

Semen analysis

There are several male fertility home test kits available on the market, both in pharmacies and online. Most of these tests claim to indicate whether your sperm quality is low or normal. But how good are these tests really?

Fertility testing in a clinic where men need to ejaculate “on demand” is awkward, and even a little embarrassing, for many guys. And for a good reason! The conditions can be less than ideal when men have to perform in, shall we say, less familiar surroundings.  A more convenient, private, and easy way to test a sperm sample is to order a home sperm test. Delivered directly and discretely to your home, a sperm analysis can be done in your own bedroom any time you feel like it.


But how good are home sperm tests in revealing men’s fertility potential?

Well this depends on two main characteristics 1) what does the test measure and 2) how accurate does it measure this?

As guided by the NHS, a sperm test should measure at least concentration (also called “count”) and motility. Unfortunately, the majority of sperm tests only measure the concentration. The problem is that this is not enough to tell whether you are fertile or not as the sperm cells’ ability to move (motility) also is very important. The same goes for checking the ejaculate volume. This can give an indication about underlying conditions that may block or prevent the full ejaculate volume.

The good thing is that most sperm tests on the market currently have a high accuracy, meaning that when you get a specific result you can be quite sure this is also what the laboratory would have found.

Most home sperm tests give the costumer a qualitative result, which means they inform the user if the sperm count is good or bad. These tests don’t give the precise numbers as in a laboratory and may thus fail to give borderline indications. It can therefore be a good idea to look for tests that provide the answer as a number rather as than a classification (so called quantitative vs qualitative test). This will also increase the acceptance by a health care practitioner if you share the results with your GP, for example.


What to look for in a home sperm test

When searching for or buying a home sperm test, it’s important to be aware of the following:

  • Measuring sperm count and motility are the most crucial

When going for a sperm test, it should at least measure sperm count and motility. Some tests will measure more parameters that you can read about here.

  • Be aware of the accuracy

Controlling the accuracy of a test can be hard for a people who are not medically trained. The easiest way is to look if the test has a CE certification as an In Vitro Diagnostics device (IVD). This ensures the device has been validated thoroughly and is safe to use. If the test is certified, the manufacturer will have to provide the accuracy in the instructions for use.

  • Check your swimmers more than once

Because sperm quality naturally varies and lifestyle factors can affect sperm quality, it’s important that you choose a test where you can check your sperm quality a few times. We recommend to test the quality of sperm two times within 10 days to be sure of your baseline quality. This is also the guideline of the WHO.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines as a reference

Some home testing kits classify a low sperm count as under 20 million cells per ml. According to the WHO (international guidelines), a sperm count above 15M/ml is normal. Clinically speaking it’s difficult to address what it means if you have under 20 M/ml as it’s not normally used in the clinic.

If home tests measure several sperm parameters, it’s important that the reference is always the WHO.

Fertility Guidance is important!

Understanding a sperm test result can be a little difficult. Besides choosing a user-friendly home sperm test, it’s also a good idea to find a test with a good explanation of the test result and what to do afterwards if the result isn’t optimal. If your sperm quality is low (also when re-testing), make sure to contact your general practitioner or a fertility specialist for medical help. Many couples also start by consulting a fertility specialist online for some help and guidance during their fertility journey. You can access qualified fertility expertise for couples through Dr. Fertility UK here.

Together with the ExSeed app (free for download), the Exseed home sperm test offers accurate and quantitative sperm testing.  This comes along with guidance on how to understand sperm results together with fertility assistance if needed.

Download the free Exseed app today and find out more.

Downlaod the ExSeed app


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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.