Using an ovulation test kit precisely as advised by the instructions helps you get a better idea about your fertility status and detect the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) surge that generally happens in the middle of your period. Women trying to conceive are anxious to know about ovulation kits and how accurate are they to increase the chances of getting pregnant. Couples planning their pregnancy are finding these ovulation kits very helpful. But how accurate are they?
While most of these ovulation predictor kits (OPK) are more than 90% accurate in detecting the LH surge, it is always advised to consider the pros and cons of OPKs before you want to trust this fertility method exclusively. These kits help couples understand the exact condition for their pregnancy and also to make right decisions regarding care and medication required during such time. There are a wide range of pregnancy related, high end checkup kits available in the market and online stores. You can purchase a kit and test your rate of fertility within the comfort of your home. But before you opt for one, know that this is only a qualitative test and lets you know whether you have elevated LH levels. It will not tell you that you will definitely become pregnant.
Types of ovulation testing kits
There are basically 3 types of kits to predict ovulation. Ovulation predictor kits or OPKs; fertility monitors, and those working on saliva tests.
They are again available in two forms where both use test sticks that help detect any surge (increase) in the LH which indicates that ovulation is about to begin. The only difference between the two types is that you need to hold the urine in a cup to test in one type where as the other one requires you to hold the test stick under the urine stream as you wee. Determine the result by looking at the appearance of the lines on the test sticks that tell you whether or not you are ready to ovulate.
However, you need to be careful when either dipping the test stick in your urine or holding the test stick under the urine stream to the exact specified level for best results. As with any home use test, you need to follow the directions on the package precisely for accuracy in the results.
Based on the type of fertility monitor you use, you either put the test stick in the device or place your urine on the lens screen of the monitor which then reads and determines the hormone levels based on the appearance of the colored lines or any other indication according to the brand and type of the monitor. Fertility monitors are a good option if you want to test repeatedly but they are more expensive. They can be either battery operated or electronic.
Some test kits also measure estrone-3-glucuronide – another hormone produced and accumulated in your urine during the estrogen break down in the body. It also makes the cervical mucus thin and slippery so that the sperms may swim easily thus increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
Predictor kits that measure saliva
Rather than testing for LH, saliva-based ovulation test kits test for estrogen. This type of test kit is actually a small, reusable 40x – 60x microscope along with a supply of slides for testing. You need to apply your saliva on the slide, allow it to dry and place it under the microscope to determine the results.
There is an increase in the estrogen level as your body nears ovulation and this increase (surge) manifests in the saline of your saliva. This test kits detect saline which appears as a fern-like pattern on the slides of the microscope.
Interpreting the results
As with any of these tests, a positive test does not mean that you will get pregnant, but only indicate that you may be near ovulation.
The results also depend on the time you tested and the accuracy in following the instructions. Most test ovulation test kits suggest using them any time after noon. They should not be used first thing in the morning unlike pregnancy test kits. Again, as the surge in LH peaks right before ovulation giving you an almost 36-hour before you ovulate and another 24 hours as you ovulate, having a sense of your monthly cycle will help you detect and perform the with best results.
Saliva-based test kits should be used first thing in the morning before even you brush your teeth as the results may be disrupted by brushing your teeth as is with smoking, eating and drinking before you perform the test. How you put the saliva on the slide and how long have you waited before you put the slide in the monitor/microscope also affects the results.
As a positive test result doesn’t tell you that you will definitely get pregnant, a negative test result doesn’t mean that you are not ovulating as OPK’s do not perform well if you are using any other fertility drugs. They also do not show consistent results on women over 40 years as menopausal women have increased levels of LH all the time and the results of the OPKs might be rendered as invalid.
Although, most OPKs provide accurate results almost 99 times, they should be coupled with other monitoring methods including the cervical mucus examination and charting basal body temperature.
Seek the help of a registered medical practitioner if you are not satisfied with the home based test results as the methods used by your doctor are automated and give consistent results and also as they use other tests not available for home use including laboratory test of blood or urine.