How and Why to Test Male Fertility

About two million men are diagnosed with infertility each year in the U.S. Yet when a couple is having trouble conceiving, treatment efforts often focus solely on the woman’s fertility. While this can be a good place to start, it’s important to know that male infertility is the root cause of the problem in about 30% of cases, according to multiple studies.

So whether you’re looking to start or add to your own family or are interested in becoming a sperm donor, there are good reasons for men to learn more about their own fertility. And as technology and testing methods improve, it’s easier and more effective than ever to assess sperm health and find treatment options that can help with fertility issues.

To learn more about sperm health and fertility, Seattle Sperm Bank (SSB) suggests the online resource Don’t Cook Your Balls. Along with being a good source of practical information and helpful tips, the site’s tongue-in-cheek style offers entertaining reading and viewing. You can also take their brief online quiz to learn about how your lifestyle may be affecting your fertility.

Male Fertility Testing Options

There are many options for men to test their fertility including visiting your doctor and requesting a full semen analysis. Or, if you are a healthy male between the ages of 18 and 39 and are interested in becoming a sperm donor with SSB, semen analysis is part of our process.

A fast and convenient way to begin testing your fertility is to conduct an at-home sperm test, which detects a specific protein found only in sperm. After ejaculating into a cup, the test takes just minutes to determine the total number of sperm cells in your semen. According to the Mayo Clinic, a sperm count above 20 million sperm per milliliter is considered normal. If your count falls below that number, you may want to consult your doctor for further tests. You should also do several at-home tests over a period time to ensure more accurate results. Don’t Cook Your Balls recommends the Trak Fertility test though there are many brands to choose from.

Whatever your tests reveal, it’s important to remember that sperm count is just one of several factors affecting a man’s fertility health. Other issues including poor motility (a gauge of how well sperm can move), a lack of vitality (the percentage of living sperm in an ejaculation), and abnormal sperm size or shape. And while some of these problems are genetic, others can be improved by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

To learn more, read SSB’s article on some common male fertility facts and myths or contact one of our friendly experts at 206-588-1484 or

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