post-coital test

Last reviewed 01/2018

This is a test of cervical hostility to spermatozoa.


  • test performed at the time of ovulation - determined from rise in patient's basal body temperature, or detection of urinary LH
  • intercourse 6 - 12 hours previously
  • cervical mucus obtained by syringe, placed on a warm slide, and covered with a coverslip
  • with a simple light microscope, assess number and motility of sperm


  • more than 20 motile sperm per high power field - semen penetration is normal i.e. being ejaculated into correct space, sufficient number, no immune problems
  • 0-20 motile sperm per high power field - repeat test in a further cycle at time of ovulation

Two negative results should be followed by a cervical mucus test to assess for problems of immunity.