If you are having difficulties becoming pregnant you and your partner may consider seeking fertility treatments. There are a number of different fertility treatments available, ranging from IVF to IUI, but it is important to have proper testing performed before you choose a treatment. The post-coital test is one of the most commonly performed infertility tests. This fertility test can help to determine the quality of a woman’s cervical mucus and the motility of a man’s sperm. This information can then be used to decide on an appropriate method of fertility treatment.
What is the Post-Coital Test?
The post-coital fertility test (PCT) is a procedure used to help determine why a couple is having difficulty becoming pregnant. The test evaluates a woman’s cervical mucus, revealing information about its health and suitability for fertilization. The post-coital test also examines how well a man’s sperm functions in the cervical mucus. The test is performed just before ovulation, when a woman’s cervical mucus is most amenable to fertilization. Samples of the mucus are taken between 2 and 8 hours after intercourse.
Sometimes called the Sims-Huhner test, the post-coital test has been in use since the 1860s. Though its usefulness has been debated as of late, it is still one of the most popular tests used in fertility clinics today.
About Cervical Mucus
You may be wondering what all the fuss about cervical mucus is when it comes to getting pregnant. Well, your cervical mucus actually plays an important role in pregnancy.
Throughout your cycle, your cervical mucus changes in consistency, from thick and white, to stretchy and clear. Though it may seem easy to you, it is actually very difficult for sperm to make their way through this cervical mucus, especially at particular times during your cycle. During ovulation, your cervical mucus thins out, becoming stretchy and clear. It is during this time that sperm have the best chance of breaking through your cervical mucus.
By analyzing your cervical mucus during this time, your health care provider can determine how well suited it is to pregnancy. She can also see how well your partner’s sperm are at functioning in the mucus. If something appears to be wrong with the mucus or sperm, your health care provider can then make suggestions as to how to correct this.