Fertility treatment has always been a challenge. There are invasive tests, hormone shots, and intense stretches of waiting for results. And in terms of male fertility, sometimes the guy must “provide” a sperm sample all alone, in a cold cubicle, with unfamiliar magazines. Now, ProteX aims to make that particular process that much easier: introducing the at-home male fertility test.
Yes, there’s a whiff of sarcasm going on here. But, there are actually some real issues with the old “go in the cubicle at the doctor’s office, look at some magazines, and return your sample in a cup” method of sperm collection. Temperature changes, stresses on the poor little guys, and performance anxiety can all take a toll on the sample’s quality. And, besides, maybe some things are best done at home.
Anecdotal evidence: LA area resident James (not his real name) was handed a cup in his urologist’s office and told to go home to “produce” the sample. Then, he was informed, he’d have about 30 minutes to drive it to the hospital for analysis. “That’s not a lot of time in LA,” James ruefully tells Parentology. “I ended up going about 100 miles an hour on the 2 [freeway].”
Sounds like James could’ve used ProteX.
So, there’s definitely a demand for an in-home collection process with a more reasonable drop-off window. As Reproductive Solutions President and CEO Diana Peninger tells Parentology, “many men have said they would pay just about any amount to be able to provide the sample from their home.”
Sperm Needs Protection
While ProteX is not specifically an at-home male fertility “test,” it does provide a far more generous window of about 48 hours from initial capture to drop off. And having your doctor run the test is much more thorough than any at-home treatment.
All sorts of things impact the quality of a semen sample, from temperature changes to elevated cortisol levels. Those little swimmers, which have a limited life span already, don’t last long in the harsh environment of an ordinary plastic cup.
ProteX is designed differently. It provides a protective environment for the semen by using an insulated container that funnels the sample into a small holding well. This minimizes the surface that’s exposed to environmental stresses. These features protect the sample from temperature shifts for a much longer time, resulting in a longer holding window. Thus, no more frantic drives to the drop-off, racing against a ticking clock.
And, according to Reproductive Solutions, ProteX ups the chances for success. “When using ProteX, sperm fertilization capability may increase up to 55% or greater than when using the current collection method,” says Peninger.
Find A Clinic Offering ProteX
While the assumption is that most fertility issues are due to the woman, that’s really not true. Men need help just as often. According to Fertility Answers, “Fertility experts agree that, on average, 30% of the cases of infertility they see can be attributed solely to the female, 30% solely to the male, 30% a combination of both partners, and in 10% of cases the cause is unknown.”
With pandemic realities making any sort of extended time in a doctor’s office highly unappealing, there’s even more need for at-home collection. “In 2020 COVID caused everyone to redesign their patient contact processes. Even though ProteX was in the initial launch cycle, the advent of COVID forced many clinics and patients to seek alternatives to “in-clinic” only collection methods. With the extended window of 48 hours, ProteX was a perfect solution to at home collection with the added benefit of significantly healthier sperm,” says Peninger.
Not every clinic has ProteX. If at-home collection sounds appealing, the Reproductive Solutions site offers a list of clinics that feature the option.