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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Postcoital Exam

Postcoital Exam
by Melissa

Why would you be doing a postcoital exam?

It seems like doctors don't use them very much anymore, but we had a postcoital exam to determine whether IUI was a good option or whether we should jump to IVF. A postcoital exam evaluates the cervical mucous and determines whether it is a good conductor for the sperm.

Thalia wrote in the comments (and I've added it here): There's a reason why doctors don't do these any more. The doctor I saw recently said, imagine a picture of a station after the train has just left. The postcoital test is like using that picture to estimate how many people got on the train. Enough said, in my opinion. If your doctor suggests one, ask why. If they insist, look for another doctor who has better kept up to speed with developments in fertility treatments [unless the test is being used to test the quality of the cervical mucous close to ovulation].

What to expect

Postcoital exams are conducted close to ovulation, when optimal cervical mucous is being produced. Simply put, the couple has sex (at home!) and comes to the clinic within a set period of time. A swab is inserted near the cervix to collect a sample of mucous. The mucous is analyzed and the couple is given a report on the quality of the cervical mucous. For the most part, the RE is looking to see how many sperm are still alive and moving in the mucous. And also the quality of the mucous (as well as quantity).

Problems that may arise and ways to troubleshoot

Except that you may not get to the RE's office in time? There really aren't many things that could go wrong with a postcoital exam. It's a simple, painless test.

Personal tips

The worst part of the postcoital is that it's embarrassing. In reality, all fertility tests and treatments are embarrassing, but this one is particularly blush-enducing since you just had sex prior to arriving at the RE's office. Some women drink green tea daily from CD 1 until ovulation in order to produce larger quantities of cervical mucous. I'm not sure if this is even a proven result of drinking green tea, but it can't hurt to down a cup or two a day in the days leading up to the test.

4 comments:

Thalia said...

There's a reason why the doctors don't do these any more. The doctor I saw recently said, imagine a picture of a station after the train has just left. The post coital test is like using that picture to estimate how many people got on the train.

Nuff said, in my opinion. So I'd amend this write up to say, if your doctor suggests one, ask why and if they insist, look for another doctor who has better kept up to speed with developments in fertility treatments.

Sunny said...

I know you posted this a long time ago but I just had to add that this was the WORST test that I did out of total embarrassment. Not only did they know I just had sex with my husband, I was leaking on the table. Leaking love juice! UGH!

Anonymous said...

My doctor performs this to see if you have to undergo IUI or not. He basically looks at whether my cm is good, and whether the sperm are still alive in it. There are some problems that can be overruled that way. I think many drs. may just prescribe IUI and skip this altogether for those women who don't conceive after medical treatment and naturally trying.. so maybe you would not need it following that progression. I am glad that I had it done, it was simple and painless and I got to see my husband's sperm swimming in my clear mucus, so I know that was not a problem. Also, it was not an expensive test.

sassy said...

I'm supposed to be having this test tomorrow, but I'm not sure if that is okay, since I took my temperature this morning and apparently have begun ovulation. I know this is an old post... but does anyone know if this is okay or if my timing is off?