Post Coital Test (PCT)

Clinical definition of the Post Coital test
The Post coital test (PCT) is a test which may be done to evaluate the reason of infertility in a couple. Post means after and coitus indicates sexual intercourse. This test is done between 2 and 8 hours after the couple has intercourse and is scheduled close to the ovulation date of the woman. Previous basal body temperature charts can help to ascertain the time of ovulation.

Why is the Post Coital test done?
The PCT examines the interaction between the sperm and the mucus of the cervix (opening of the uterus) to check for the presence of active sperm in the cervical mucus, and reveals information about its health and its suitability for fertilization.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the Post Coital test is done?
Unexplained infertility, particularly in cases where the female is known to be ovulating and/or a male's semen analysis is normal.

Who should do the Post Coital test (Target population)?
Persons showing the above signs & symptoms.

What should I do before the Post Coital test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *

Cervical mucus

Small amount of cervical mucus withdrawn from the cervix with the help of a speculum. A speculum is an instrument used for dilating the vaginal cavity in order to examine its interior.

Monitor the basal body temperature (BBT) in order to determine when ovulation will take place.

Measure the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) with a urine test. This will also help to determine when ovulation will take place.

Once the ovulation date is determined, an appointment can be booked for the post-coital test for the following day.

Have intercourse 2 to 8 hours before the appointment.

Do not use lubricant during intercourse, and refrain from douching or tub bathing afterwards.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my Post Coital test results?
The cervical mucus is checked for FERNING (appearance of fern like pattern), under a microscope. The presence of estrogen along with ferning indicates drying of the endocervical mucosa.

Diseases/conditions related to the Post Coital test
Normally, active sperm are expected to be found as they can survive for many hours. A poor PCT may indicate sperm or mucus problems, including perhaps presence of immune factors that inactivate sperm. Also ovulatory problems and poor coital technique may affect the PCT.

Other tests related to the Post Coital test

  • Antisperm Antibody Test
  • Semen analysis Test