I learned to start thinking things through more often.
Hey, what's up, hello! I'm Anthony, and I happen to be the only man on the fabulous BuzzFeed Health team. (Oh, and that's my dog.)
So naturally you can see why I'd be interested in men's health topics. But I'm also interested in a whole lot of other stuff too, like science, tech gadgets, and all that is taboo and awkward in this world. I secretly LIVE for awkward situations.
So you might call it fate when, one day in March, my team got a promotional email for the Yo Sperm Testing Kit.
"Male fertility is an often overlooked component of reproductive health," the email said. "In particular, many men are afraid to test their sperm due to the stigma associated with male infertility — with YO Sperm Test, no uncomfortable trips to the doctor are necessary."
Now, being a health editor, I have no problem seeing a doctor and talking to them about my health issues. It's all natural — for the most part, anyway. But I could see how some men might be hesitant to see a doctor about their sperm — they could learn some surprising truths and *gasp* have to actually talk about it. (And god forbid it mess with their masculinity.)
Regardless, it's an uncomfortable situation when you're not used to these types of test. Unlike women, who have to see gynecologists, men aren't really told to see a urologist unless something is wrong. During physicals, our doctors normally just ask if we've been checking for lumps or abnormalities. And as for STIs, that stuff is taken care of with a blood test.
Medical Electronic Systems / Via youtu.be
But the email thread was lit.
Some of the responses:
- "Omg IRL project." —Sally
- "This video is great, omg. WITHOUT ANY SPERM TOUCHING YOUR PHONE! I can't believe this is called YO SPERM." —Anna
- "The video of sperm is a really cool feature — like, I'd feel so much closer to it after this." —Caroline
And that's when I knew I had to try it. I really wanted to see my boys (or girls) on a screen. I wanted to feel closer to my sperm(!). And, I mean, it sounded like a really cool little science project — like those times in middle school biology class when I'd look through microscopes at amoebas and mitochondria. Only this time, it was my own cells. So cool! So I bided my time, and when the moment was ripe in the first week of May, I sprung. I got the OK from my editor, and ordered the kit.
The Yo kit has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, and is 97% effective at testing for motile sperm concentration — aka the amount of moving sperm in a 1-milliliter sample. Through the app, the kit tells you whether you have more or less than 6 million moving sperm, and, by that measure, whether you have a moderate/normal range of motile sperm or a low range, which could mean you have fertility problems. Oh, and the best part? It shows you a short video of your sperm, taken from a microscope inside the attachment that goes on your phone.
Universal Pictures / Via giphy.com
I didn't actually realize what I was getting myself into until a week later.
It took a few days for me to finally sit down with our team's video producer, Caity, to go over the post and talk about the video component. But I eventually caught her on a Friday around 5 p.m., sitting in BuzzFeed's canteen with her boyfriend. I told her I was going to be analyzing my sperm with the test kit and we all actually had a pretty good laugh about it...but then it turned suuuuper awkward.
"So are you gonna jack off here or at home?" she asked. And in that moment I was shook! I suddenly had a ton of questions running through my head:
*Where am I going to be masturbating, though?
*Can I do that at work?
*Is it even legal to do that?
*Am I comfortable with this?
*Is Caity comfortable with this?
*What will her boyfriend think? Like I know we're cool — we've all hung out before — but this is borderline tew much.
I was so hype to see a video of my own sperm that I didn't even think about how we were going to get there. But like many other times in my somewhat-shameless life, I dived right in anyway.
PBS / Via giphy.com