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Postcoital Test

A postcoital test checks a woman's cervical mucus after sex to see whether sperm are present and moving normally. This test may be used if a woman is not able to become pregnant (infertility) and other tests have not found a cause.

The test is done 1 to 2 days before ovulation when the cervical mucus is thin and stretchy and sperm can easily move through it into the uterus. Within 2 to 8 hours after you have sex, your doctor collects and looks at a cervical mucus sample.

Many doctors question the value of the postcoital test to check for infertility. It is not done very often.

Why It Is Done

The postcoital test may be done if you are not able to become pregnant and:

  • You are ovulating, your fallopian tubes are not blocked, and your partner's sperm are normal. A problem with your cervical mucus may be causing infertility.
  • Immune system problems, such as sperm antibodies, may be a cause of infertility.
  • Your male partner does not want to be tested.

How To Prepare

The postcoital test must be done within 1 to 2 days of ovulation. Follow your doctor's instructions for checking your basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. When you check your LH level, do the urine test in the mid- to late morning, and do not drink any fluids that morning until you have done the test. If your test shows that you are ovulating, call for a doctor's visit for the next day.

Have sex about 2 to 8 hours before your visit. Do not use lubricants during sex. Do not douche or take a bath after sex, but you may take a shower.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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