Sperm Penetration Tests
Sperm penetration tests check to see whether a man's sperm can move
through cervical mucus and the
fallopian tubes to join with (fertilize) an egg. This
test is usually done when a couple is having trouble becoming pregnant (infertility).
There are different sperm
- The sperm mucus penetration test
checks whether a man's sperm can move through the cervical mucus. This test is
not done very often because there are other fertility tests that give more
information about the fertility problem.
- The sperm penetration assay (also called the hamster zona-free ovum test or
hamster test) checks whether a man's sperm can join with an egg. Sperm are
mixed with hamster eggs in a laboratory. The number of sperm that penetrate the
egg (sperm capacitation index) is measured. This test is done most often at
special fertility centers that do
in vitro fertilization.
Why It Is Done
Sperm penetration tests may be
- When other tests have not found a cause for
- To see how the sperm function when a semen analysis
test has shown some problems, such as slow movement or the sperm look
- To test
sperm before doing in vitro fertilization.
How To Prepare
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?).
Sperm mucus penetration test
For women, this test
must be done during
ovulation. Follow your doctor's instructions for
checking 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.
men, the semen sample is collected after the cervical mucus sample is taken.
You should not release your sperm (ejaculate) for 2 days before the test. It is
important to not go longer than 5 days before the test without
Sperm penetration assay (SPA)
penetration assay only requires a semen sample to be taken.
men, it is important that you do not release your sperm (ejaculate) for 2 days
before the test. But do not go longer than 5 days before the test without