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Is At-Home Sperm Testing An Important Part of Men’s Preconception Health?

Fertility has long been considered a woman’s domain. Of course, everyone knows that it takes both egg and sperm to make a baby, but historically, it’s the female partner who gets the side eye when things don’t go according to plan. Here at Beli, we’re working hard to raise awareness of the important role men play in the baby-making equation, which brings us to today’s topic of men’s preconception health and specifically, sperm health. Knowing what you’re working with can save you a lot of time, but is at-home sperm testing considered an important part of men’s preconception health? Let’s break it down.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A man’s preconception health has a direct influence on pregnancy outcomes and the health of their future children.
  • For men, fertility health really comes down to sperm health, which is measured by specific parameters.
  • External factors can influence sperm health, for the better and for the worse.
  • At-home sperm tests can offer some insight into sperm count and mobility, so they can be a useful starting point.
  • For a deep analysis into sperm health, you’ll need a sperm test with a qualified fertility specialist.

Understanding Men’s Preconception Health

When we talk about preconception health, we’re literally talking about the quality of a man’s fertility health in the weeks and months prior to a successful conception with a partner. A preconception health series published in the Lancet Journals emphasizes the pivotal role of health and nutrition in hopeful parents, calling it “important not only for pregnancy outcomes but also for the lifelong health of their children and even the next generation” (1). Clearly, this is a big deal, and health as a whole is often — though not always — a reflection of fertility health. For men in particular, much of fertility health boils down to sperm health, which is measured via specific parameters:

  • Sperm quantity. This is the count and concentration of sperm in semen. A healthy male’s ejaculation has around 55 million sperm, and anything under 39 million qualifies as low sperm count. That’s not to say that a man with a low sperm count is unable to have children, or that a guy with excellent sperm count is going to have no problems getting his partner pregnant. The goal, however, is a robust sperm count.
  • Sperm morphology. This is the shape and the size of the sperm. Well-formed sperm have oval heads and long tails, which streamlines them for movement. But there are a lot of funky sperm out there, and it’s the abnormal ones that are associated with lower fertility rates.
  • Sperm motility. This is how well sperm move, which is key for a successful conception. If 40% of a man’s sperm are motile, he’s considered fertile.

The great news is that these parameters of sperm health can be influenced by external factors, which means specific lifestyle changes can actually have a positive effect. And no, we aren’t talking about limiting masturbation (a common misconception for improving male fertility). Things like what you eat, where you work, how you manage stress, how often you work out and what kind of workouts you do, whether you drink coffee, alcohol or use cannabis, how much sleep you get and even how much time you spend in a hot tub or sauna can have an impact on sperm health. The more you know, right? (For specific tips on improving your lifestyle for healthy sperm, check out our post on 11 easy ways to support male fertility.)

The Role of the At-Home Sperm Test

While women who are ready to become mothers can turn to their gynecologist for advice, men don’t often have the same kind of reproductive expert handy. Since there is value in having a baseline idea of sperm health, the at-home sperm test was born. These tests are designed to check for the presence of sperm in a semen sample, and some will even give you an idea of mobility. Remember that sperm health can vary so significantly over the course of just weeks, and an at-home sperm test may be a simple way of gauging whether any of the changes you’re making are paying off.

Clearly, at-home sperm tests have their appeal: convenience, privacy, ease of use, with results ready in just a few minutes. But they have their drawbacks, too. An at-home semen test is limited in terms of what it can tell you. While they’re generally accurate, you won’t get the same kind of detailed analysis available at a certified lab. At-home tests that you administer yourself typically test for semen volume, concentration and motility for a baseline idea of these parameters. If you’re experiencing fertility issues in these areas, these tests can be really helpful. But just because the results of an at-home sperm test are all in the normal range doesn’t guarantee an easy time conceiving, so that’s worth keeping in mind.

A Little Reminder

There are a few best practices for couples who are serious about conceiving. In addition to generally cleaning up their lifestyle to improve their general health, prenatal vitamins are recommended. For women, a prenatal vitamin covers any nutritional gaps and ensures you’re getting all the right nutrients, especially choline and folate, in the event you conceive earlier than you thought. So much critical development happens in the very earliest weeks, often before that pregnancy test reads positive, so starting prenatal vitamins early is really important. 

For men, prenatal vitamins are just as key. Research shows that the most common cause of a sperm deficiency is a lack of specific nutrients and other lifestyle factors (2). A prenatal vitamin like Beli Vitality for Men™ is formulated with beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support fertility health. And there’s the unexpected benefit to a men’s prenatal vitamin, too. It’s a small daily show of support that lets your partner know this is a journey you’re on together, and a positive mindset is one of the five pillars of fertility, after all!

The Bottom Line

It warms our hearts to know that more and more men are taking preconception health seriously. At the end of the day, conception is a numbers game. The more sperm you’re playing with — and the healthier those sperm are — the greater the chances of success. While an at-home fertility test isn’t mandatory, it may be a useful first step for couples who are really interested in getting all their ducks in a row. It can’t be considered a replacement for an evaluation with a qualified fertility expert, but it does give you a general idea of sperm count and motility. 

Article Resources

  1. Preconception Health. The Lancet. (2018). https://www.thelancet.com/series/preconception-health
  2. Skoracka, K et al. (2020). Diet and nutritional factors in male (in)fertility—underestimated factors. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7291266/

Additional Resources

Men really do benefit from specialized nutrition in the form of a prenatal vitamin that’s formulated to support sperm health. Here’s what that looks like, and how specific nutrients can impact a man’s fertility health before fatherhood.

Read More

Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

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Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

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A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

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With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

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Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

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When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

Everyone responds to supplementation (not to mention pregnancy!) differently, which is one reason that how you feel isn’t a clue into whether or not your prenatal vitamin is actually working. Instead, you need to be confident about the prenatal vitamin itself, and there are a few things you’ll want to look for.

Read More

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Read More

Men really do benefit from specialized nutrition in the form of a prenatal vitamin that’s formulated to support sperm health. Here’s what that looks like, and how specific nutrients can impact a man’s fertility health before fatherhood.

Read More

Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

Read More

Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

Read More

Just as women’s bodies need to be prepared for pregnancy, men’s bodies need to be ready to contribute healthy sperm for conception. Nutrients are the foundation that support the normal structure and function of sperm and men's fertility health. Taking Beli’s male prenatal supplement is a proactive way to strategically fuel your body to optimize fertility contributing to your overall chances of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy.  

Read More

A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

Read More

There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

Read More

Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

Read More

You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

Read More

When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

Read More

You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

Read More

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Read More

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Read More

Heard the one about ice baths and testosterone? Spoiler: there's little to no research behind that idea. Here’s what to know about cold plunges and male fertility, according to the research, plus where you should really focus your efforts if you’re trying to improve sperm health.

Read More

As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

Read More

Jimmy Fallon. Hugh Jackman. Mark Zuckerberg. Keith Urban. Gordon Ramsey. Kyle Busch. Besides immediate name recognition, what else do these men have in common? They’ve all struggled with infertility issues—and it’s something they’re all talking about publicly. Here's why that matters.

Read More

While it’s true that popular hair loss meds work minor miracles on that receding hairline and back-of-the-head bald patch, it’s also true that it can come with side effects—some of them sexual. So, what does that mean in terms of male fertility? Here’s what couples should understand about the effects of popular hair-loss medications on sperm health.

Read More

A few years ago, the keto diet was all the rage—a high-fat, low-carb way to shed pounds quickly. While it’s lost a bit of its luster, as all diet trends do, interest in the keto diet remains. Specifically, those hoping to become parents wonder whether following this way of eating could support fertility. Is a diet high in fat and low in carbs the answer? It’s possible. Here’s what to know about the keto diet and whether it might help support fertility.

Read More

When you’re pregnant, of course, you’re told to limit your caffeine consumption. But what about when you’re trying to conceive? Can too much caffeine affect your chances of conception as a couple? It's a good idea to cut back—which means you need to be really clear about sneaky sources of caffeine in your diet.

Read More

Here at Beli, we’re staunch advocates of supporting men's fertility health in anticipation of fatherhood. In fact, our men’s prenatal vitamin, Beli Vitality for Men, is actually our flagship product. Today, we’re diving into the obvious and unexpected benefits of prenatal vitamins for men, starting with what actually happens when you start taking them.

Read More

Forbes Health recently reviewed our men's prenatal vitamins and we love author Leigh Weingus' take: "Beli Men Vitality Multivitamins first caught my eye because while I often see supplements that claim to improve fertility outcomes for women, I rarely see the same thing for men." We hear you, Leigh! Check out the full review here and read on for some highlights.

Read More

Everyone responds to supplementation (not to mention pregnancy!) differently, which is one reason that how you feel isn’t a clue into whether or not your prenatal vitamin is actually working. Instead, you need to be confident about the prenatal vitamin itself, and there are a few things you’ll want to look for.

Read More

We’re back with our second post in our “It Starts With The Sperm” mini series on the key roles sperm plays in conception, pregnancy and baby, and this time, we’re talking DNA. When it comes to male fertility, it’s not enough to have a high sperm count and top marks for motility and morphology. Without low levels of DNA fragmentation, a man’s fertility—along with his ability to successfully conceive with a partner—is affected.

Read More