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Sperm penetration tests check to see if sperm can move through cervical mucus or join with (fertilize) an egg. These tests may be done when you're having trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
There are different sperm penetration tests.
Sperm penetration tests may be done:
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean.
A cervical mucus sample needs to be collected during ovulation. Follow your doctor's instructions for checking the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. If your test shows that you are ovulating, call for a doctor's visit for the next day.
The semen sample is collected after the cervical mucus sample is taken. You should not release your sperm (ejaculate) for 2 to 5 days (but no longer than 1 week) before the test.
The SPA only requires a semen sample to be taken.
It is important that you do not release your sperm (ejaculate) for 2 to 5 days (but no longer than 1 week) before the test.
For the sperm mucus penetration test, a sample of cervical mucus will be collected during a pelvic exam. In the lab, the semen sample is added to the mucus in a tube. After 90 minutes, the distance the sperm have moved is measured.
For the SPA, sperm from the semen sample are mixed with hamster eggs in a lab. The number of sperm that can penetrate an egg is measured.
You may feel some pressure or mild discomfort when the speculum is placed into your vagina. The speculum opens the vagina a little bit. This allows your doctor to look at the inside of the vagina and the cervix. The speculum may be warmed with water or lubricated with a vaginal lubricant (such as K-Y Jelly).
Collecting a semen sample does not cause any discomfort.
There is very little chance of a problem from collecting a sample of vaginal fluid or from collecting a semen sample.
This test uses donor sperm and the male partner's sperm. Both sperm samples are added to a sample of the woman's cervical mucus. Donor cervical mucus may also be used with the woman's cervical mucus.
There may be a problem with the partner's sperm if:
There may be a problem with the woman's mucus if neither the partner's nor the donor's sperm penetrate the cervical mucus.
Sperm penetrate the cervical mucus and move through it easily.
Sperm can't penetrate the cervical mucus, or they clump together in the mucus. Clumping may mean that the woman or man has formed antibodies against the sperm. If the sperm antibodies are from the man's body, clumping may also be seen in his semen analysis.
Results are based on the number of sperm that can penetrate an egg. This can vary from lab to lab. Talk with your doctor to find out if your results are normal.
Sperm penetrate the hamster egg.
Sperm can't penetrate the hamster egg.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Current as of:
February 11, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineFemi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of: February 11, 2021
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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