Post-Coital Test (PCT)

What Is It?

An examination which may reveal existing problems between the interaction of sperm with cervical mucus.

Indications

Unexplained infertility, particularly in cases where the female is known to be ovulating and/or a male's semen analysis is normal

How It Works

Cervical mucus is collected via pelvic exam a few hours after sexual intercourse has occurred around the time of ovulation. Cervical mucus is then observed via microscope to assess the condition of any sperm present.

Results

Generally available soon after procedure, but will be disclosed to patient at a follow-up office appointment or phone call.

Typical Procedure Protocol

Pre-procedure

  • use of OPK or other indicators of ovulation, so that intercourse can be timed properly
  • Other indicators may include serum estradiol, serum progesterone, and serum LH lab tests
  • standing appointment scheduled for female
  • sexual intercourse should occur 8 to 12 hours prior to PCT

During procedure

  • female patient lies on exam table with feet in stirrups, as for a pelvic exam
  • cervix is assessed for appearance (open or closed, any abnormalities)
  • small amount of cervical mucus is aspirated using syringe
  • mucus is observed under a microscope

What may be found through a PCT

  • bacterial infection
  • antibodies in mucus that reject sperm
  • mucus that is too thick for sperm passage
  • too little mucus for sperm passage
  • abnormal semen resulting from male sperm antibodies
  • ejaculation disorders
  • poor coital technique, resulting in improper of sperm placement
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