3. POST-COITAL TEST - (PCT)
This test is a measure of the ability of the sperm to penetrate and survive in the cervical mucus. The cervix, known in lay terms as ‘the mouth of the womb’, is the entry site of sperm into the uterine cavity (womb). At the time of ovulation, the mucus that fills this canal becomes more plentiful and is more readily penetrated by sperm. The post-coital test examines the quantity and quality of this mucus as well as determining the quantity of the sperm that are able to penetrate it and survive.
For this test, intercourse should take place exactly 2-1/2 hours before your scheduled office visit.
The test is performed like an ordinary internal pelvic exam. Once the cervix is visualized, a small instrument is inserted into the cervical canal and the mucus is withdrawn. Generally, five to six levels of mucus will be obtained, each reaching higher and higher up the cervical canal. (Many doctors will only obtain the lowest single level of mucus, which may erroneously appear normal, while higher levels of mucus may demonstrate the inability of sperm to penetrate all the way up into the uterine cavity.) The mucus is immediately examined under the microscope. There is no pain associated with this test. You will be able to leave the office at the conclusion of the test. There might be a spot or two of bloody discharge following the test but this is nothing to worry about. You may continue all of your activities just as before.
While tentative results of the test will be known at the time of the test, full interpretation must await the beginning of the next cycle so that the adequacy of the timing of the test can be determined. The results of the test will be discussed at a later visit intended to review the complete evaluation.