Is it possible to check if a substance is semen using at-home semen test kits?

The answer is `No、it is not possible.`


The lie of infidelity test kits

In neighboring Korea, there was a case where a vendor that sold an infidelity kit was charged with fraud. Domestically, there have been similar cases of infidelity kits made in China being sold online. The product description says that by applying the infidelity reagent to a pair of underwear, the area will change color to red within 1 hour if there is semen present, thus confirming that your spouse is having an affair.

However, upon investigation the reagent was revealed to be just a mix of commercially available phenol red powder with ethyl alcohol, and that it reacts not only to semen but also to urine, milk, soap, eggs, and even water if it had alkaline compounds in it. Products advertised as “semen reagents” should be treated with caution.

Method of confirming the presence of semen

There are 3 confirmed methods for confirming the presence of semen

1. Molecular biology method

This method can detect proteins that only exist in human semen. As the test will only react to human semen, it can accurately distinguish between semen from animals, and it is possible to quickly identify the presence of semen even if it has been diluted 1 million times. As expensive reagents are used, the test is a bit pricey. However, it is considered the most accurate method for detecting human semen, and employs the same technology as the FBI.

2. Chemical method

This method uses a special liquid reagent such as SM-test reagent to confirm the presence of enzymes such as acid phosphatase which is contained in semen. Since it is done quickly and cheaply, it is used as a simple test at the scene of an incident to check for semen, however acid phosphatase is contained in animal semen, human blood cells and a variety of other substances. Therefore, it can be difficult to conclude the presence of semen even if there is a response from the SM reagent.

3. Direct observation with a microscope

This method makes use of a special stain to confirm whether semen is present or not. While it is possible to confirm whether the sample contains semen or not with just visuals, the cost and time it takes is a bit more involved. Furthermore, a larger amount of semen would be required for detection, and if there is not enough this method would be unsuccessful. Lastly, with this method it can be difficult to know whether a negative test showing an absence of semen was just a result of not being able to locate the semen.

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