Place des tests d'interaction sperme-mucus dans le bilan masculin de l'infecondite

Translated title of the contribution: Sperm-mucus interaction tests in male infertility work-up

Y. Soffer, A. Raziel, S. Friedler, S. Kaufman, D. Strassburger, A. Herman, R. Ron-El

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In infertile couples, it may be necessary to finely analyze the fertilization ability of spermatozoa. The postcoital test (PCT) has long been the only sperm functional assay. It tests the sperm penetration and survival ability in the cervical mucus. These are the first steps of a long cascade of events that spermatozoa have to undergo during their ascension in the female genital tract, on their way to the site of fertilization. However, the PCT may evoke emotional stress and should be done in a simple way to avoid sexual inhibitions. In optimal conditions, the number of motile spermatozoa seen in the upper cervical mucus correlates well with semen analysis and the odds of subsequent pregnancies. Antisperm antibodies may impair the PCT and only few, if at all, or many immobile or shaking spermatozoa, may be seen in cervical mucus, in contrast to the sperm quality in the ejaculate. In vitro Sperm- Mucus tests may be done using Kurzrok or Kremer technique with human or bovine mucus as well as with synthetic media. These in vitro tests do allow a good evaluation of sperm quality but only partially correlate with natural PCT. In an IVF group the PCT correlates with IVF fertilization and pregnancy outcome. It helps detecting the high risk group in which additional tests, antisperm antibody detection, acrosome reaction test, hamster test (SPA), hemizona assay (HZA), are recommended. These tests may sort those couples requiring sperm egg micro-injection. However, the PCT has been criticized for its poor methodology and mainly for its weak validity. In this IVF group, we performed a validity analysis of PCT and all sperm tests against fertilization and pregnancy rate. It confirms the weak validity indices of PCT and of all sperm tests as well. Nevertheless, in the stepwise regression analysis of all these tests against IVF fertilization and pregnancy, F-test value of PCT was almost similar to SPA/HZA and higher than sperm morphology. Thus, PCT is important and the weak validity indices of all sperm tests are probably due to the multifactorial nature of sperm quality. So, no single test may reliably check sperm fertilization potential. Male work-up does require a cascade of examinations including PCT to allow reliable evaluation and rational therapeutic act.

Translated title of the contributionSperm-mucus interaction tests in male infertility work-up
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)36-46
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical mucus
  • Fertilization
  • Infertility - male
  • Postcoital test
  • Pregnancy
  • Sperm functional assays
  • Spermatozoa
  • VF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Urology


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