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How to Use Ovulation Test Kits

If you’re trying to conceive, then you’ll probably be trying as many different ways as you can to boost your chances. There are an almost overwhelming number of options, from traditional urban myths about fertility passed on by well meaning parents and grandparents to advice about medication and diet from your doctor, and enjoinders to relax from your friends.

The advice from your doctor is probably the most valuable, and well worth trying to act on, but it can still be a lot to take in. Among diet tips, and even potential prescriptions for medication, they’ll likely be encouraging you to try to monitor your cycle so you know when you’re ovulating. As you can only get pregnant in a narrow window of time around ovulation it’s well worth paying attention to this bit of advice and learning more about your menstrual cycle.

One of the most popular ways to identify when you’re ovulating is to use an Ovulation Test Kit: these are available from many supermarkets and pharmacies and for many people offer a simple solution.

How Do They Work?

Home ovulation test kits are not unlike pregnancy tests: they test your urine for certain hormones and when they detect the right level of the right hormone it triggers a positive response on the stick. The hormone that Ovulation Test Kits (also known as Ovulation Prediction Kits or OPKs) look for is

Luteinising Hormone (often abbreviated to LH). This hormone builds in your body throughout your cycle, first signalling your ovaries to prepare and egg and then surging 14-16 days into your cycle to cue the egg’s release. OPKs test for a spike in LH levels in your hormone to let you know when you’re ovulating. Depending on the kit, you’ll either be collecting your urine in a cup or peeing directly on the stick to provide a sample for testing.

When to Use Them?

There are two different aspects to picking the right time to use an OPK. Firstly, you only need to use them around the middle of your cycle: the idea is not to use them every day but to identify the week or two around which you might ovulate and use the test kits to narrow this window down.

If you have an irregular cycle, caused by stress, medication or polycystic ovary syndrome, it can make it difficult to identify when you have to use an OPK. On top of that, your circumstances could cause false positives or false negatives which make the predictive power of the test much less useful.

There’s also some debate about when in the day taking one of these tests will get you the best result. Some experts argue that first thing in the morning gives you the clearest chance at accuracy, while others claim the relevant hormone won’t gather until in your urine until the afternoon.

Alternatives

If you want to cut through the ambiguity and difficulty, or if you have some health concerns that make a hormone based OPK useful for you, there are alternatives.

OvuSense measures your basal body temperature, establishing what’s normal for you, and then monitors it for the spikes that indicate you’re ovulating and have the best chance to conceive!

Find out more about core temperature technology and fertility here