New Home-Test Measures Fertility

While women can turn to simple at-home tests to find out whether they’re pregnant, the only way to find out why they’re having trouble getting pregnant has been a visit to the doctor – for both the woman and her partner.

Now Fertell, an at-home kit, can measure both male and female fertility to help increase a couple’s chance of conceiving. Having tests for both partners is important, according to Keith Isaacson, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School, because fertility issues are fairly evenly spilt between male and female factors.

While couples under age 35 are generally advised to try to conceive for about a year before consulting a fertility specialist, Isaacson suggests that those who haven’t conceived after six months might want to try Fertell.

Over age 35? “I don’t think I’d wait at all,” Isaacson says. “The earlier these people with problems are detected, the greater the ultimate success rate’s going to be. The factor that changes the most dramatically with time is the quality of the eggs.”

The female component of the Fertell kit is as simple to use as an at-home pregnancy test. It measures the level of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in a woman’s urine, a key indicator of the ability of a woman’s ovaries to produce eggs that can be fertilized. Results can be read in 30 minutes.

The male component of the test measures the concentration of motile sperm – those healthy enough to fertilize an egg. Results of the male test can be read in 80 minutes.

The entire kit – available in Ireland and the United Kingdom for more than a year – retails for under $100 and is available over-the-counter at pharmacies and online. It is FDA approved and clinically proven 95 percent accurate. A 24-hour toll-free advice line staffed by trained professionals is available for couples using the test.

According to Isaacson, the test will not detect problems due to tubal factors, fibroids or polyps, or hormonal issues. And he reminds couples that even with the most sophisticated clinical tests, 10 percent of all infertility cases still go unexplained.

Christina Elston