Use of Cervical Mucus as a Fertility Indicator

By MD (gynecologist), BSc, MSc (embryologist) and BA, MA (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 03/25/2015

Cervical mucus presents different characteristics depending on the woman's menstrual cycle phase. This happens because the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle also affect the cervix, which produces different mucus during each menstrual phase.

For this reason, analyzing cervical mucus can help us determine when ovulation occurs.

Home cervical mucus analysis

A woman can check her cycle phase by using her index finger to take a cervical mucus sample. By touching the mucous with her index finger and thumb, its elasticity can be checked.

Cervical mucus

Before ovulation, when the woman is not at her fertile period yet, there is some dryness because the vulva isn't able to lubricate itself and taking a mucous sample will not be that easy.

Once menstruation is over, cervical mucus is scarce and has a sticky texture. Its goal is to avoid infections and hinder the entrance of spermatozoids.

Egg white cervical mucus

During the days that precede ovulation and up until it starts, cervical mucus keeps on growing in number and becomes more and more elastic.

Just before ovulation, cervical mucus properties change due to the influence of estrogens. This facilitates the entrance of spermatozoids and egg fertilization. The mucus becomes much more elastic and slippery, with a consistency similar to that of an egg-white. This stage is called egg-white due to its characteristics. During this stage, the woman is at her most fertile time. Thus, if a woman wants to get pregnant, engaging in sexual intercourse is highly recommended during these days.

Cervical mucus can have a whitish, yellowish or murky colour. If blood or tissue particles appear mixed with the mucus, ovulation might have already occurred. Those tissues are part of the follicle, which now is open and has already released the egg.

Cervical mucus changes

Contraceptives affect cervical mucus by altering hormonal levels and the cervical functioning. For this reason, if you are taking contraceptives, you won't be able to calculate your ovulation this way and will have to use other methods.

This method is also not effective if the woman suffers from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or has hormonal alterations. In general, this method is only effective in women who have a regular menstrual cycle.

Cervical mucus and infertility

A cervical mucus analysis is a good female fertility indicator provided that you learn how to differentiate each texture and elasticity changes.

Calculate fertile days

Once we learn how to differentiate the mucus characteristics, we can determine which days are more fertile and increase sexual frequency during those days with the aim of achieving a pregnancy.

There are other tests which may be even more reliable to determine both ovulation and fertile days. The ovulation test is one of those. It is a small instrument, which measures LH levels. This test can be bought in a pharmacy and is not excessively expensive.

FAQs from users

Can alterations in the cervical mucus lead to female infertility?

By Óscar Oviedo Moreno MD (gynecologist).

Yes, alterations in the cervical mucus can are a common cause of female infertility. The cervical mucus is a secretion produced before ovulation and it disappears after the woman ovulates. It has a sticky texture, and its mission is to pave the way for sperms toward the tubes. It is, in fact, a good indicator of female fertility.

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Authors and contributors

 Óscar Oviedo Moreno
Óscar Oviedo Moreno
Bachelor's Degree in Medicine & Surgery from the University of Caldas (Colombia). Specialist in Internal Medicine by the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogotá. Degree standardized in Spain in 2003. Specialist in Gynecology & Obstetrics from the Complutense University of Madrid, with residence at Hospital Clínico Universitario San Carlos de Madrid. Expert in Reproductive Medicine and Certification in Obstetric-Gynecologic Ultrasound (levels I, II and III). More information about Óscar Oviedo Moreno
License: 282858310
 Sarai Arrones
Sarai Arrones
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biomedicine and Biomedical Sciences from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Specialist Training Course of gamete, embryo, and animal tissue cryopreservation. Embryologist specializing in the field of Assisted Procreation. More information about Sarai Arrones
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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