Preparing for the Post-Coital Test
Preparing for the post-coital test is fairly straightforward. Your health care provider will give you more detailed information about what you need to do before the test, though. In general, couples undergoing PCT will need to:
- Monitor your basal body temperature (BBT) in order to determine when you are ovulating.
- Measure your levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) with a urine test. This will also help to determine when you are ovulating.
- Once you have determined that you are about ovulate, book an appointment for the post-coital test for the following day
- Have intercourse 2 to 8 hours before your appointment.
- Do not use lubricant during intercourse, and refrain from douching or tub bathing afterwards.
The post-coital test is actually a pretty simple procedure and is very similar to a pap test. It is done 2 to 8 hours after you have had intercourse.
- You will be asked to remove your clothes and lay down on an examination table.
- You will place your legs in the stirrups, exposing your vagina.
- Your heath care provider will insert a metal or plastic speculum into your vagina. This helps to expose your cervix.
- A sample of cervical mucus is collected and transferred to a slide for examination.
Results of your post-coital test should be available within a day or so. Your cervical mucus will be analyzed for its consistency and texture. It will also be examined for evidence of moving sperm.
If your test is normal, this means that your health care provider has not noticed anything out of the ordinary about your cervical mucus. Normal post-coital cervical mucus will contain healthy sperm that is moving forwards, towards the uterus. Your mucus will also be able to stretch at least 2 inches and will dry in a fern-like pattern.
Abnormal post-coital test results may indicate why you are having difficulties conceiving. If your mucus cannot be stretched 2 inches, or if it doesn’t dry in a fern-like pattern, it may not be allowing sperm to swim through, preventing conception. An abnormal test may also show clumping of sperm or a large amount of dead sperm.
After the Post-Coital Test
Once the results are in from your post-coital test, you and your partner can use the information to help make an informed decision about further fertility treatments. Normal test results generally indicate that you will be able to conceive naturally – you might just need to keep trying!
Abnormal test results may mean that other treatments will be needed to help you conceive. IVF, IUI, or certain fertility drugs may be a good solution. Speak with your health care provider about these options.