Human cervical mucus: relationship between biochemical characteristics and ability to allow migration of spermatozoa

Hum Reprod. 1993 Jan;8(1):78-83. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.humrep.a137879.


Cervical mucus is produced throughout the menstrual cycle. Sperm migration, however, is possible only during the periovulatory period of the cycle. Cervical mucus is also produced during the amenorrhoeic post-partum period. Post-partum mucus is very similar to luteal phase mucus except that it can allow sperm migration. In this study, mucus samples obtained from all these periods were classified according to their capacity to allow sperm migration. The biochemical characteristics of mucus samples that did (peri-ovulatory and 40% of post-partum samples) and did not (luteal and 60% of post-partum samples) allow sperm migration were then compared. Mucus samples with positive sperm migration showed the highest percentage of water and lowest protein and glycoprotein concentration (per ml of mucus). In addition, post-partum mucus samples with positive sperm migration showed lower concentrations of proteins and glycoproteins than post-partum mucus samples that did not allow sperm migration. However, the amount of glycoproteins per mg of protein was similar between post-partum samples that were positive and negative for sperm migration. These data suggest that the carbohydrate composition of the glycoproteins is playing a key role in the ability of cervical mucus to accept spermatozoa.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Cervix Mucus / chemistry*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism
  • Sperm Motility / physiology*


  • Glycoproteins
  • Proteins
  • Serum Albumin