What Test for Ovulation Should I Use?
Ovulation is a natural and necessary process for reproduction in females. During ovulation, the ovary releases a mature egg into the fallopian tube, where it can be fertilized by sperm. For women trying to conceive, it is essential to determine when ovulation occurs to maximize their chances of becoming pregnant that very month. One way to do this is through ovulation tests.
Test for Ovulation Types
There are two main types of ovulation tests: urine- and saliva-based.
Urine-based tests detect the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge just before ovulation. LH is a hormone that triggers the release of the egg from the ovary. When a woman is about to ovulate, her LH levels increase significantly. This kind of test will target the presence of this surge.
There are two types of urine-based tests: test strips and midstream tests. Test strips are thin paper strips dipped into a cup of urine. Midstream tests, on the other hand, are held directly in the urine stream.
Urine-based tests are easy to use and are available without a prescription. They are also relatively inexpensive, ranging from a few dollars to around $40 for a pack of 20. However, urine-based tests can sometimes produce false positive results, which is frustrating and disappointing for women trying to conceive.
Saliva-based tests detect the increase in estrogen that occurs just before ovulation. Estrogen is a hormone in a woman’s body throughout her menstrual cycle, but its levels increase markedly just before ovulation. Saliva-based tests examine a sample of a woman’s dried saliva under a microscope. If she is about to ovulate, the sample will show a fern-like pattern indicative of high estrogen levels.
Saliva-based tests are more expensive than urine-based tests, ranging from $30 to $70. However, they are reusable, making them more cost-effective in the long run. Saliva-based tests are also more accurate than urine-based tests and, as such, can be more reliable in detecting ovulation.
How do I use these tests?
To reiterate, tests for ovulation work by detecting changes in the hormones in a woman’s body during her menstrual cycle. As mentioned, LH levels increase significantly just before ovulation, and estrogen levels increase just before the LH surge. By detecting these changes in hormone levels, ovulation tests can predict when the actual ovulation is about to occur.
Women using urine-based tests are instructed to take the test once or twice a day, usually starting around day 11 of their menstrual cycle. They should continue testing until they receive a positive result indicating they will ovulate within the next 12 to 36 hours. Once they receive a positive result, they should have intercourse as soon as possible to maximize their chances of becoming pregnant.
Those using saliva-based tests are instructed to take the test once or twice daily, starting around day 8 of their menstrual cycle. They should continue testing until they see the fern-like pattern in their dried saliva sample, which indicates that they will ovulate within the next 24 to 72 hours. Once they see the fern-like pattern, they should plan to have intercourse during that period to increase their chances of conception.
Accuracy of Ovulation Tests
The accuracy of a test for ovulation can vary depending on the type of test. However, the good news is that research shows they are generally as accurate as 99% when used correctly.
Nonetheless, it is important to understand that some women can have LH surges that do not result from ovulation. For example, women with polycystic ovary syndrome may experience several of these surges each month, even though an egg may not be released.
Women with significantly irregular menstrual cycles can also have difficulty tracking ovulation. The use of antibiotics may also make it difficult to determine the precise time of ovulation by interfering with the accuracy of the test kit.
Check with your reproductive specialist to ensure you are on the right track. He/she will assist you in determining the best way to check your ovulation patterns and, as such, when you are most likely to conceive. At Advanced Reproductive Medicine, we can help you conquer all the challenges of dealing with infertility. We will get to the root of the problem so you can spend your time and energy doing the things that will most optimally assist you in achieving your dream. We are on the cutting edge of the latest methods used to treat infertility and will thus tailor a treatment plan that offers you the highest chance of a successful outcome. Please schedule a consultation, or call us at 732-339-9300.Go back