Unexplained infertility diagnosis is made in the presence of a normal semen analysis when tubal patency and normal ovulatory function are established. Among several potential causes, unexplained infertility could be attributed to vaginal pH and cervical mucus abnormalities. Although the vaginal canal and the cervix generally function as effective barriers to sperm, and although the production of mucus is essential to transport them from the vagina to the uterine cavity, these factors receive little attention in the investigation of couples with unexplained infertility. A substantial reduction in sperm number occurs as they transverse the cervix. From an average of 200 to 300 million sperm deposited in the vagina, only a few hundred achieve proximity to the oocyte. Given this expected high spermatozoa loss, a slight modification in cervical mucus may rapidly transform the cervix into a "hostile" environment, which, together with changes in vaginal environment and cervix structure, may prevent natural conception and be a cause of infertility. In this review, we discuss the physiological role of the vaginal pH and cervical mucus in fertility, and describe several conditions that can render the cervical mucus hostile to sperm and therefore be implicated in the pathophysiology of unexplained infertility.
Sperm transport; Cervix mucus; Hydrogen ion concentration; Sperm agglutination; Uterine cervix disease; Vaginal disease; Female infertility; Unexplained infertility