ASRM 2017 | Using an in-home semen testing system to evaluate total sperm count and time to conception: a pilot study

Greg J. Sommer, Amelia K. Wesselink, Tiffany Q. Trinidad, Ulrich Y. Schaff, Michael L. Eisenberg, Elizabeth E. Hatch, and Lauren A. Wise

Fertility and Sterility, Volume 108, Issue 3, e79 – e80

 

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the association between total sperm count, as measured by an in-home semen testing system, and time to pregnancy (TTP)in a North American preconception cohort study.

DESIGN

Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO) is a web-based preconception cohort study of North American couples actively trying to conceive.1 PRESTO couples who had been attempting conception for fewer than 3 months were invited to participate in a pilot study using the Trak Male Fertility Testing System, a new device for measuring sperm concentration and semen volume at home.2 TTP (in cycles) was measured over 12 months via bimonthly female follow-up questionnaires.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Participants were mailed a Trak Engine and two test kits at baseline. Users self-reported and uploaded smartphone images of their Trak test results using an online web form. Total sperm count (TSC, million) was calculated as semen volume (ml) x sperm concentration (million/ml). Couples contributed attempt time from study entry until the report of pregnancy or 12 cycles, whichever came first. Discrete-time Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate fecundability odds ratios (FOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between TSC and fecundability.

RESULTS

During 4 months of recruitment, 45 of 82 (55%) men agreed to participate and 36 men (82%) successfully uploaded at least one Trak result. Of the men with a TSC of <50 million, 4/8 (50%) successfully conceived with their female partner during follow-up. Of the men with a TSC of ≥50 million, 20/28 (71.4%) successfully conceived with their female partner during follow-up. Men with a TSC<50 million had 0.72 times the odds of conceiving in any given menstrual cycle relative to men with a TSC≥50 million, after adjustment for abstinence time (fecundability odds ratio (FOR)=0.72, 95% CI: 0.24-2.13). With further adjustment for male and female age, male and female body mass index, smoking, and other potential confounders, the FOR was 0.52 (95% CI: 0.11-2.41).

CONCLUSIONS

Although imprecise due to the small population of men included in this pilot study, the results suggest an association between in-home measured low total sperm count and reduced fecundability. Further analysis based on a larger sample of participants is forthcoming.

SUPPORT

This pilot study was funded by a Boston University School of Public Health grantand Sandstone Diagnostics. PRESTO is supported by NIH grants R01HD086742 and R21HD072326.

REFERENCES

1. Wise LA, Rothman KJ, Mikkelsen EM, et al. Design and Conduct of an Internet-Based Preconception Cohort Study in North America: Pregnancy Study Online. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2016, 29: 360-371.

2. Schaff UY, Fredriksen LL, Epperson JG, et al. Novel centrifugal technology for measuring sperm concentration in the home. Fertility and Sterility 2017; 107(2) 358-364