If you are trying to conceive, then you are probably already somewhat familiar with the basics of ovulation: Once a month, a mature egg is released from one of the ovaries and is available to be fertilized. Once the egg is released, you typically have a 12-36 hour window where your fertility peaks – this is the ideal time to have intercourse to try for a baby. But since every woman’s menstrual cycle is different, it can be frustrating for women who have tried to conceive for months and had no luck. This is where at-home ovulation kits can be used to help predict the best times to try for a baby. NCCRM IVF specialists recommend using at-home ovulation kits to pinpoint when you should try to conceive.
How Do Ovulation Test Strips Work?
Ovulation test strips work a lot like pregnancy tests that you urinate on or dip in a cup of your urine. The difference is they measure the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. A rise in LH signals the ovary to release an egg, so when your levels reach a certain threshold, it’s safe to assume that ovulation will occur within the next 12 to 36 hours. Ovulation tends to occur about halfway through your menstrual cycle. Depending on how long your specific cycle lasts, you will want to calculate the midpoint between your periods. Typically for a 28-day cycle, this will be around 10 or 11 days after the first day of your last period.
Most at-home ovulation kits come with 5-10 test strips. Prices vary based on factors like brand, the number of strips in the kit and whether the test has a digital reader. A box of basic test strips usually costs between $12 and $25, depending on how many strips are in the box. You can expect to pay a little more for ovulation test strips or ovulation predictor kits with digital readers, between $32 and $52. Digital test strips simply tell you whether you are fertile or not, while the paper test strips require you to determine if the test line that appears after you pee on it is darker than the control line, which is a line that lets you know that the test was used correctly and is working properly.
Here are some tips brought to you by NCCRM IVF Specialists to get the most accurate results when using an at-home ovulation kit:
- Avoid testing first thing in the morning. Most women have a surge in LH in the morning, and those levels can be picked up in your urine about four hours later. It is best to test between the hours of 12p-8p. Or if you want to test twice a day, test first between 11a-3p, and then again between 5p-10p. Regardless of when you choose to take the ovulation test, be sure to consistently take them around the same time or times each day until you get a positive test.
- Make sure your urine is concentrated enough. For the most accurate results, avoid peeing for an hour or two before the test, and try not to drink large amounts of fluid.
- Follow the package directions carefully. Each at-home ovulation kit is unique, so the more closely you stick with the manufacturer’s instructions, the more likely you’ll be to get good results.
Once an ovulation test confirms that your LH levels are on the rise, start having sex that day and continue for at least the next 2-3 days since ovulation can occur within 36 hours of LH levels going up. It is always a good idea to download a free fertility app or keep a journal with important dates like when your cycle begins, when you start ovulation testing, when you have intercourse, and when you take pregnancy tests.
Keep in mind that ovulation tests predict the ideal time to conceive, but they still do not guarantee that conception will take place. If you or a loved one have any further questions about at-home ovulation kits or are concerned about infertility, please contact NCCRM IVF specialists today!