Human cervical mucus: research update.
Evaluation of cervical mucus is a standard for determining the fertile period in natural family planning. Cervical mucus accepts, filters, prepares, and releases sperm for successful transport to the egg and fertilization. Recent scientific advances provide answers to how the mucus regulates fertility as its physical properties change during the menstrual cycle. Transmission electron microscopy reveals small interstices between mucus macromolecules relative to a sperm head. Thus advancing sperm must push aside or cut through the microstructure. The interstices are largest in the periovulatory phase of the cycle. Small magnetic spheres, comparable with the size of a sperm head, are now being used to study the physical properties of the mucus on the scale of individual sperm.
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