How It Is Done
A postcoital test is done in your
You will take off your clothes below the waist.
You will have a gown to drape around your waist. You will then lie on your back
on an examination table with your feet raised and supported by stirrups. This
is similar to having a pelvic examination or Pap test.
will insert a lubricated tool called a speculum into your vagina. The
speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls, allowing your doctor to see
the inside of the vagina and the cervix. See a picture of the
vaginal speculum examination.
How It Feels
You may feel some discomfort when the
speculum is put in.
A pelvic examination to collect a cervical mucus
sample does not cause problems.
A postcoital test checks a woman's
cervical mucus after sex to see whether sperm are
present and moving normally. Results of the postcoital test may be shared with
you right after the test.
Postcoital test results1
- Normal amounts of sperm are seen in the
- Sperm are moving forward through the cervical
- Mucus stretches a normal amount.
- Mucus dries in a fernlike pattern.
- Mucus does not stretch.
does not dry in a fernlike pattern.
- No sperm or a large number of
dead sperm are seen in the sample.
- Sperm are clumped together and
not moving normally.
What Affects the Test
A postcoital test may not be
normal if you do not know the exact day of
ovulation. If the test is done at another time in your
cycle, the sperm cannot move through your cervical mucus.
What To Think About
- Clumped or dead sperm may mean that the
cervical mucus has problems that affect the sperm or that you or your partner
antibodies against the sperm (immunologic
infertility). For more information, see the topic
Antisperm Antibody Test.
- If a postcoital
test is abnormal, a sperm penetration test may be done. For more information,
see the topic
Sperm Penetration Tests.
- Many couples find
it hard to have sex "on demand," especially when an examination must be done
soon after having sex.
- For more information on infertility testing,
see the topic
- This test is not done very often because experts feel the
results do not always correctly indicate infertility.