Post-Coital Test

Cervical mucous is usually thick and is present to keep infection out of the uterus. Around the time of ovulation it becomes thin and watery to assist the sperm through the uterus so it can get to the fallopian tubes and fertilize the egg. This particular test can provide insight as to why successful fertilization is not occurring. This test is sometimes called the Sims-Huhner test, named after the healthcare providers who invented it.

Why It Is Done

The post-coital test (PCT) evaluates not only the cervical mucous but also the interaction of the sperm and the mucous. If properly timed (as directed by the healthcare provider), the test reveals a great deal about the adequacy of a woman’s cervical mucous production, the ability of the sperm to survive in the cervical mucous, and how the sperm and cervical mucous interact. Ideally, the sperm should have no trouble moving through the cervical mucous.

How It Is Done

This test must be performed right around the time of ovulation (when eggs are released). Removing the cervical mucous is accomplished entirely in the healthcare provider’s office with intercourse having taken place the night before. A sample of cervical mucous is gently removed from the cervix (within 18 hours after intercourse) during a normal pelvic exam and evaluated microscopically.

There are only a few days during the menstrual cycle when sperm can survive in the cervical mucous, so the timing of this test is crucial.


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