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Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

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Sperm Penetration Tests

How It Is Done

Sperm mucus penetration test

For the sperm mucus penetration test, samples of your cervical mucus and your partner's semen will be collected. In the lab, the semen is added to the mucus in a tube. After 90 minutes, the distance the sperm have moved is measured.

A sample of cervical mucus is collected from the woman during a pelvic examination. To learn more, see the topic Pelvic Examination.

A semen sample is collected by masturbation. First, you should urinate and then wash and rinse your hands and penis before collecting the semen in a sterile cup. You cannot use lubricants or condoms when collecting the sample. If you collect the semen sample at home, be sure to get it to the lab or clinic within 1 hour. Keep the sample at body temperature and out of direct sunlight. The sample cannot be collected by having sex and then withdrawing when you ejaculate because vaginal fluid may be mixed with the sperm.

Sperm penetration assay

For the sperm penetration assay, a semen sample is collected. The sperm are mixed with hamster eggs in a laboratory. The number of sperm that can penetrate an egg is measured.

A semen sample is collected by masturbation. First, you should urinate and then wash and rinse your hands and penis before collecting the semen in a sterile cup. You cannot use lubricants or condoms when collecting the sample. If you collect the semen sample at home, be sure to get it to the lab or clinic within 1 hour. Keep the sample at body temperature and out of direct sunlight. The sample cannot be collected by having sex and then withdrawing when you ejaculate because vaginal fluid may be mixed with the sperm.

How It Feels

Cervical mucus sample

You may feel some pressure or mild discomfort when the speculum is put into your vagina. The speculum spreads apart the vaginal walls, allowing your doctor to look at the inside of the vagina and the cervix. The speculum may be plastic or metal and may be warmed with water or lubricated with a vaginal lubricant (such as K-Y Jelly). Try to relax your legs and hips as much as you can.

Semen sample

Collecting a semen sample does not cause any discomfort. But you may feel embarrassed about the method used to collect it. If masturbation is against your religious beliefs, talk with your doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: /2, 14 1
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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