Summary. Samples of semen and cervical mucus were provided by 18 couples. Cervical mucus was obtained for each day possible and stored at 4°C until all the samples were collected. Flat capillary tubes were loaded with the mucous samples and spermatozoa from the husband's semen sample were allowed to migrate through the cervical mucus (3 cm column) into culture medium. The spermatozoa recovered after migration through cervical mucus were assayed in vitro with zona-free hamster oocytes. Control experiments were carried out using spermatozoa from the same semen sample but prepared by the swimming-up technique. Altogether, 557 eggs in the control group and 1236 eggs in the experimental group were analysed, and the results demonstrated that the % of sperm penetration, the mean number of sperm decondensations per penetrated egg and the mean number of spermatozoa adhering per egg all had higher values (P < 0·05) for the control samples than for the experimental samples. We suggest that cervical mucus modifies human spermatozoa, as measured by their interaction with zona-free hamster oocytes.
Keywords: human; cervical mucus; gamete membrane fusion test; spermatozoa