March 2, 2010
Researchers at the University of Virginia have developed an at-home sperm-check test, similar to a home pregnancy test.
The SpermCheck fertility device is like a home pregnancy test with one major difference -- it's for men.
"It really can be thought of as a companion product to pregnancy and ovulation products available to women, offering an opportunity for men to be on an equal level as the women with regard to assessing their fertility status," said John Herr, a professor of cell biology at UVa.
Herr said more than 40 percent of the time, a couple's infertility is a problem with the man. The at-home test is based on sperm count. It gives a reading -- normal, low or very low levels -- to screen for issues with infertility.
The technology was discovered at UVa, and ContraVac, a Charlottesville-based company, will market it.
"If the test tells him there is a sperm count issue, that removes the barrier," said ContraVac President Ed Leary. "He knows he has an issue, then he's more than willing to go to the physician to have his fertility addressed rather than going through the expensive and invasive issues the woman has to go through."
Leary said this at-home kit will cost around $25. They're expecting FDA approval within the next two months, and the expect SpermCheck fertility to be available later this year.