Ovulation test kits – Everything you wanted to know
Last updated on June 26th, 2016
Ovulation takes place when one or more matured eggs are released from the ovary(ies), moves down the Fallopian tubes into the uterus and is available for fertilization by a sperm. Ovulation occurs once every menstrual cycle, about 14 days before the next period. Once an egg is released, it can last for 12-24 hours. The few days leading up to your ovulation is known as the fertile window,which is to the most fertile days in your menstrual cycle which gives you the highest chance of conception.
A sperm can survive inside you for up to 7 days depending on it’s health and the condition within the uterus. Most couples who want to conceive should have sex at least a couple of times a week throughout your cycle. Regular sex confers the best chance of conception. However, one should remember that even normal healthy couples can take up to 12 months before being successfully pregnant. If you have taken hormonal contraception prior to this, you may experience difficulty conceiving for the first few months but give it a few months while your menstrual cycle reverts back to normal before consider the use of these kits.
To increase your chances of conception, some tools have been developed to help you identify your fertile window. This is especially useful for couples that have been trying to conceive for more than 6 months, work away from home, already have children, live hectic lifestyles making regular sex difficult. It can also be useful if you have irregular periods.
There are a few ways to determine your fertile window. You could keep track of your menstrual cycle, your basal body temperature or changes in your cervical mucus. However, if you have irregular menses or a busy schedule, you may have difficulty noticing changes in your body. An ovulation predictor kit would be very helpful.
Let’s explore the different types of ovulation predictor kits available in stores.
Digital ovulation predictor kit:
How does it work?
This is a urine based OPK , which works by detecting a surge of luteinizing hormone in your urine which occurs one to two days before ovulation. Throughout your cycle, there will be a consistent level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your body. However, one to two days prior to ovulation, the LH in your body will shoot up to 5 times the normal amount.
How to use?
Place a new test stick into the digital reader (not to be thrown away). You can either pee on the test strip or pee in a cup and dip the test strip in the urine cup. The digital reader would compare the level of LH in your body compared with previous readings and display ‘ YES’ if there is a surge, which means you need to get busy. This test should be done daily, and around the same time each day. There is no need to do the test early in the morning as you might miss the surge for that day. Testing at 2 to 3 p.m. should be fine. 3 to 4 hours before testing, reduce the amount of fluid intake so as to avoid diluting your urine for better hormone detection.
Ovulation test strips
How does it work?
The function is similar to the digital ovulation kit as described above.
How to use?
First, you pee into a cup, and then dip the strip for 3 seconds. After 5 minutes, examine the test line, if it is as dark or darker than the control line, you’ll ovulate in the next one to two days. Similarly, you can perform this test in the afternoon and reduce fluid intake few hour prior. This is the cheapest method available in the market but some users might struggle to determine the shade of the test line compared to the control line.
Saliva ovulation test kit
How does it work?
The saliva based OPK works by detecting the changes in salt content in your saliva. Just prior to ovulation, the estrogen hormone in your body increases as well. This in turn increases the salt content in your saliva and when dried, reveals a ferning pattern. However, you should also know that a second surge of estrogen occurs towards the end of your monthly cycle which means that correlation with menstrual cycle needs to accompany the use of this test.
How to use?
Just place a drop of saliva on the lens after waking up every morning and let it dry. Do not brush your teeth, eat or drink prior to that. Once it has dried, that a look with the magnifying lens provided in the box. If you see ferning or crystal patterns on the lens, you are ovulating or about to ovulate. There should be a comparable pattern provided. Some users may find it tough to judge the patterns.
Most of urine-based test are more than 99% accurate in detecting LH surges but not the ovulation period itself, since LH surge occurs with or without the release of an egg. What’s more, a few small surges of LH can always occur before the real peak takes place(common in those with polycystic ovarian syndrome) and therefore the estimation of ovulation would then be inaccurate. The salivary ovulation test is only slightly inferior to the urine based OPK.
Sometimes, the test kit might not have enough strips to last one cycle. You can always correlate the commencement of your testing with increase in basal body temperature or the presence of fertile-quality cervical mucus. The fertile quality cervical mucus is also known as the egg white cervical mucus has a clear and stretchy consistency.
Standard urine-based OPKs cost up to RS 2,000 per cycle. Most brands offer the same level of reliability, so pick the one that offers you the most tests for the least amount of mone. Salivary ferning OPKs can be of better value. Also, instructions may vary slightly depending on the brand and type of test you use, so remember to read them. If however, you and your spouse have trouble conceiving after 12 months of regular sex or sex during your fertile window, it would be best to pay a visit to a fertility specialist.