(Effectiveness of the postcoital test: randomised controlled trial)
In a paper in this week's BMJ Dr Guid Oei and colleagues from the Netherlands and Australia report their findings in the first randomised controlled trial of infertility investigations regarding the postcoital test. Their study suggests that use of the postcoital test leads to more tests and treatments, but has no significant effect on the pregnancy rate.
The postcoital test involves the examination of cervical mucus after intercourse. It is still routinely used in nearly half of the fertility clinics in Britain and two thirds of clinics across Europe. Guid Oei et al conclude that treatments for abnormal test results have not been shown to be effective and that postcoital tests simply lead to more tests which do not improve chances of pregnancy.
Dr Frans Helmerhorst, Senior Lecturer, Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands