Evaluation of the postcoital test in cycles involving exogenous gonadotropins.
OBJECTIVE:To evaluate the hypothesis that a postcoital test, optimally performed in the periovulatory period of cycles in which gonadotropin-induced superovulation was used, correlates with cycle fecundity. METHODS:Of 1135 total consecutive cycles, 367 first cycles were analyzed from the reproductive endocrinology and infertility service of a university medical center. This referral population had a mean age of 34.6 years for the female partner, a nulliparity rate of 81%, and a mean length of infertility of 4.8 years. Postcoital tests were performed 36-40 hours after hCG administration in gonadotropin-stimulated cycles. Clinical pregnancy was defined as fetal cardiac activity as seen on transvaginal ultrasound examination. RESULTS:Couples with no sperm observed per high-power field in the cervical mucus achieved a 16% fecundity rate (21 pregnancies in 129 cycles), one to ten sperm a 18% fecundity rate (28 pregnancies in 154 cycles), and more than ten sperm a 15% fecundity rate (13 pregnancies in 84 cycles). There was no significant difference between groups (n = 367, P = .85); the power to detect a statistically significant difference was .82. As validation of optimal cervical mucus, fecundity rates were compared with these postcoital test values across the entire range of peak periovulatory serum estrogen levels, and no correlation was seen (P = .61, .86, and .96 for estrogen levels of 201-500, 501-1500, and 1501-3433 pg/mL, respectively). CONCLUSION:With precise periovulatory timing and supraphysiologic estrogen levels optimizing qualitative cervical mucus characteristics in gonadotropin-induced cycles, the number of sperm observed per high-power field does not correlate with cycle fecundity.
Bush, MR; Walmer, DK; Couchman, GM; Haney, AF
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