Can I Order My Own Lab Work, If I Pay for it Myself?

Here’s the deal: I want a sperm count, as Mrs. Rastahomie and I haven’t gotten pregnant after three years of not really trying, but certainly not avoiding it either. Dr. Albracht, D.O., won’t order one until we’ve really tried for a year.

Understanding Dr. Albracht’s role as a “gatekeeper” for the HMO I belong to, I respect his reluctance to order expensive lab work without good justification. But OTOH, I don’t want to wait a year to see if my “swimmers” aren’t up to par, either. Therefore, I’m willing to pay for a sperm count myself, out of my pocket, IF a lab will do it.

So, does a lab have to have a physician’s orders to do a test on a patient? Or can the patient request it himself, as long as he’s willing to pay the bill?

IANAD and IANAL, but methinks you just can’t go to a medical lab and have a test done without a physician’s order. However, I can’t imagine that it would cost you that much to go to a doctor on your own and ask him/her to order the test for you.

I don’t think the lab would want to face the liability of screwing something up without having a doctor’s note saying that the test was necessary.

This is a WAG.

Since you are going to be paying for it try going to another doctor and request it or go to a lab and do the procedure yourself.
When they ask about insurance, just say that you will be paying for it yourself.

As long as you are willing to foot the bill I don’t see why this test couldn’t be run at your own request. It’s not like the test itself is somehow dangerous or intrusive. Call a lab and see what they say.

There is an FDA-approved home test kit for male infertility.

Well, you could always regard it as a good excuse to get a microscope.

You can get the Intel QX3 computer integrated microscope really cheap right now.
( Anyone know if 200X magnification is enough to
see the little wigglers?

Short answer: yes!

Customer Service 1-800-929-2044
Email at:

I don’t know whether this particular one does or doesn’t do sperm counts. Their web site lists the most commonly ordered tests that they offer (which doesn’t include that one) but they do a much wider range of tests than their menu includes. You’d have to call them during business hours to find out.

My advice is to be pushier with your own doctor.

Doctors are always giving you their medical OPINION. Well, you don’t have to agree with it, and you should flat out say so. And if your doc still refuses, ask for a referral to another doctor for a second opinion.

I waited years to REDUCE my sperm count to zero. At 25 my doctor told me I was too young for a vasectomy, and I bought it. Nearly ten years passed before I had it done.

You’re not talking about tying up an MRI for a boob job here. Those test are hardly “scarce medical resources”.

Could you not try and donate sperm to a sperm bank? They would probably then tell you if something was wrong for free!

I’d ditto those who said to try to get a doctor to order the tests, but only because you might save a few bucks. These tests can be expensive (to the tune of a couple hundred dollars, I’d reckon); as well, theres no reason to be reluctant to perform such tests, other than as a cost-saving measure. If you want this test, there’s no reason they shouldn’t accomodate you, IMO. It’s not like you’re trying to cop a prescription or something, its just freakin’ lab work.

I guess it might vary from country to country and from state to state but I cannot see any reason why a lab would not do a test if you pay for it. Some time ago, after having gone quite a few years without any kind of tests I thought it would be good to get a physical (which I would pay out of pocket as I had no insurance). A doctor friend told me I didn’t need to see a doctor to get some basic tests done and that’s what I did: I got tested for STDs, blood etc. The tests were pretty easy to interpret and everything seemed ok. If something was out of order, then, I would have gone to a doctor with the results.

BTW, I called several labs and in one the response was like “huh? you want what? Who’s your doctor?”. The woman was totally clueless and it seemed they were only set up to deal with HMOs etc. But in others they were very much ready to deal with anyone who had the dough. I ended up getting more tests than I really wanted or needed just for the fun of it. I learnt all about platelets and other fancy stuff I have running around in my body.

You’d think I’d know this, seeing as how I work for a reference lab, but I don’t. If you wanted us to do something for you, you’d need to set up a client account, and I don’t know what the requirements for that are.

However, I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. I’ve heard of people getting tests done “unofficially” so that the results stay off their medical record and their insurance doesn’t go up.

A few years ago, I applied for a limosine liscence and required a
drug test.

Went to the local drug lab, paid $25 cash, and pissed in a cup.