Lab Tests Costs: Part IV – Saliva, Semen, Hair and Swabs Testing Costs

Submitted by Fantestico on Wed, 07/13/2022 - 12:42.

lab tests costsPrevious posts discussed bloodwork costs, stool test prices, and the cost of urine testing. What was left? saliva, semen, hair, and various swabs (mouth, nasal, vaginal, urethral). This post will cover all other bodily samples and summarize major Lab tests costs of these samples. So, what a saliva test price is? Or how much vaginal swab cost? Are they cheaper or more expensive than routine bloodwork and urine tests?

Lab tests costs affect your budget and how we consume healthcare. while most of the routine bloodwork and urine tests are covered by healthcare, some unique bodily samples are not. Nasal swabs and vaginal swabs become routine as they are detecting infectious diseases and are covered but what about semen, hair, and saliva. For these, it is a case by case but most are not covered by healthcare insurance but are available to be purchased online at affordable prices.

Type of lab testing:

Saliva and Mouth Swab: Saliva is a complex fluid, which influences oral health through specific and nonspecific physical and chemical properties. The two main collection methods of saliva are spitting into a collection tube and a mouth swab. Saliva is an excellent way to check for DNA and hormones. For some DNA tests, it is sufficient to collect enough material with a mouth swab but for many other DNA tests, a higher amount of saliva liquid is required.

Nasal Swab: For upper respiratory infectious diseases like Flu (influenza virus) or Covid (SARS-Cov2 virus) a nasal swab was found to be the most efficient collection method. A Urethral Swab is a procedure where a sample is taken from the Urethra (tube inside the penis) for testing.
Urethral Swab: the urethra is the tube that drains urine from the bladder. A Urethral Swab is done to test for STDs that cause Urethritis. This includes testing for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, NSU (Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Trichomonas). A very thin cotton tip swab is inserted gently into the opening at the tip of the penis. It is then rotated gently and withdrawn. The whole procedure only takes a few seconds. This test is done by a healthcare professional, and it is not available for online purchase.

Vaginal Swab (pH strips): Swabs are usually taken from the inside of your vagina and cervix. Vaginal pH swabs can be used to test your vaginal secretions. You hold a piece of pH paper against the wall of your vagina for a few seconds, then compare the color of the pH paper to the color on the chart provided with the test kit. A high vaginal pH level — above 4.5 — provides a perfect environment for unhealthy bacteria to grow. Having a high vaginal pH puts you at risk for these infections: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial overgrowth condition that causes a “fishy” odor, along with an unusual gray, white, or yellow vaginal discharge.

Vaginal Swab: tests on urine samples detect fewer sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than tests on vaginal or cervical swabs. Almost all studies show that women prefer self-collection of urine samples to a pelvic exam Self-collected swab tests are sent to a laboratory for analysis to look for signs of a bacterial infection. Vaginal Swabs also provide more sensitive and specific results for Chlamydia than urine samples. In addition, vaginal swabs are used for Bacterial Vaginosis, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), and vaginal microbiome tests.

Semen: Several factors affect sperm quality including its volume, concentration, vitality, motility, morphology, and DNA fragmentation. The semen is collected in a special container during ejaculation or a special condom during intercourse. Then it can be analyzed by a rapid immune test or sent to a lab for analysis.

Hair: our hair accumulates substances from our blood circulation and is used for food sensitivity, toxicity, and drug testing. Hair drug testing is the only testing method available that provides up to a 90-day drug use history, an effective way to evaluate long-term patterns of use. On the other hand, hair tests cannot diagnose a food allergy. They are typically advertised for food intolerances or sensitivities, claiming to assess IgG levels. However, IgG has not been proven to be directly connected with specific food sensitivities. IgG prevalence in response to a particular food could simply indicate that an individual has exposure to that food.  Just because IgG is created in response to eating a food, doesn’t mean that it leads to their blood cells creating an inflammatory response. 

Another type of hair test is for forensic evidence. The examination of human hairs in the forensic laboratory is typically conducted using microscopy or DNA analysis. If a DNA test is done on the hair, then the hair collected needs to have the root attached.

How much do saliva, semen, and swabs tests cost?

Bodily Sample Sample Collection Tests Price Range Comments
Saliva and Mouth Swab

In person & At-Home



Whole genome sequencing

$49 to $79

$49 to $199

$99 to $999


Depends on if includes wellness or genetic analysis

Depends on how deep the sequencing

Nasal Swab

In person & At-Home; Rapid




$8 to $36 for antigen
$40 to $129 for PCR

$150 to $199 for a Covid+Flu bundle 

Certification for travel may cost more

Urethral Swab

In person only

Urethritis, STI


n/a online

Vaginal Swab (pH strips)

In person & At Home

Urethritis, STI


Not specific- elevated vaginal pH can be caused also by other conditions

Vaginal Swab

In person & At Home; Rapid

Urethritis, STI


Vaginal Microbiome

$139 to $239





At Home & Rapid

motility morphology

$25 to $200

Depends on the analysis method (microscopy, antigen, antibody) and number of checked parameters


Additional cost for cryogenic storage

Hair Drug Test

In Person & At-home

5 to 14 drug panels

$99 to $569

Hair collection should include the hair follicle;

The price difference depends on the number of drugs in the panel

Hair (food sensitivity)

At Home

food, toxicity, nutrition 

$28 to $192


Hair (forensic)

In person & At Home

Microscopy, DNA

$80 to $120


Our bodily fluids can tell on thousands of parameters affecting our physiology, health, and disease diagnosis. In addition to bloodwork, urine, and stool samples, other bodily fluids like saliva, semen, and various swabs (mouth, nasal, vaginal, urethral) are used for analysis. Other than special DNA tests and whole genome sequencing most of these tests are not too expensive and have a price range of $8 to $200 with an average of $80. 

Do you know that self-collected swabs provide the same or better results than swabs collected by healthcare professionals?