If you’re like many women, you’ve probably spent the better part of your life avoiding getting pregnant. As such, you probably think that getting pregnant is a no-brainer, right? Well, not quite.
As you’ll learn soon, the fertile window—a period when you have a high chance of conceiving—is relatively short. Thankfully, there are a few resources and tools that can help you maximize the chances of conceiving. One such product is an ovulation predictor kit.
In the following article, we’ll explain what these ovulation detection kits are, how they work, how to use them, and more.
What is ovulation?
Ovulation is a process that takes place midway through your menstrual cycle when a mature egg is released from one of the ovaries. The egg then travels down via the fallopian tube, where there’s a possibility of fertilization taking place.
If the egg meets a sperm within the 12-24 hour window when it’s alive, fertilization occurs. But if it doesn’t, the egg simply dies or dissolves and is shed alongside your uterine lining during menstruation.
Now, if you’re looking to have a baby, then you’ll need to monitor your ovulation closely. This way, you can determine when you’re most likely to conceive. It is where ovulation predictor kits (OPK) come in.
What is an ovulation test kit?
The most common ovulation test is the ovulation predictor urine test, sold in home-test kits. This is a test that helps you figure out the period or days within your menstrual cycle when you have the highest chance of conceiving.
Here’s the deal, your fertile window is usually very short-lived. You may be potentially fertile between your 10th and 17th day, according to clinical guidelines. However, according to a study, it’s only in 30% of women where the fertile window actually occurs within the days of the menstrual cycle (10-17).
Thankfully, ovulation predictor kits were designed to help you work your way around this limited time frame. This nifty invention enables you to determine when you’re ovulating so that you can figure out how to time intercourse; hence, increase the likelihood of conceiving.
How do ovulation kits work?
Much like a pregnancy test, an ovulation predictor kit works by detecting the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), whose production surges just before you start ovulating. The increased production of this hormone is your body’s way of communicating to the follicle, signaling it to release an egg.
The ovulation predictor test kits are classified into different categories based on how they work. Here’s an overview of 2 types of ovulation kits:
Digital vs. analog tests
Like pregnancy tests, ovulation predictor kits display results differently. Analog kits show lines, which you have to interpret to determine whether you’re experiencing an LH surge or not.
In contrast, digital ovulation kits are much easier to decipher. Instead of showing you lines, these kits display readable or graphic results. An excellent example of a digital ovulation kit is the Clearblue Digital Ovulation Predictor Kit model. It shows a smiley face if you have an LH surge and a blank circle if you don’t have an LH surge.
How to use an ovulation kit
Wondering how to use an ovulation test kit? Here’s how:
- Start by reading the instructions of the particular predictor kit you’ve purchased.
- Remove the set of test strips or sticks inside the package.
- Collect your urine sample in a small cup.
- Dip the test stick or strip inside the sample.
- Wait for about 5 minutes, then read the results.
Keep in mind that some ovulation tests work differently in the sense that you’ll be required to hold the test strip/stick directly under your stream of urine.
How to read ovulation test
Like a pregnancy test, an ovulation test comes with 2 lines. One of these is the control line and it indicates that the kit is working effectively. The second is the test line and it’s designed to turn color depending on whether you’re ovulating or not.
If you’re about to start ovulating, which means your LH levels will be high, then the line will turn darker than the control line. This is what we refer to as an ovulation kit being positive. It means that if you engage in sexual intercourse, you have a high chance of getting pregnant.
But if you’re not close to your ovulation date, which means your LH levels will be low, then the test will appear lighter than the control line. This means your ovulation test result is negative, and it probably isn’t a good time to try and conceive.
Pros and cons of ovulation predictor kits
- Convenience: Although there are numerous ways of tracking your ovulation, using this predictor kit is one of the easiest ways. It’s not as taxing as the basal body temperature (BBT) approach, which requires you to record your temperature every other morning.
- Easy to access: Ovulation test kits are readily available. You can buy them from any drugstore, pharmacy, and even some major supermarkets. And the best part is you don’t even need a prescription.
- Ease of use: Using an ovulation test kit is fairly similar to using a pregnancy test. All you need to do is collect a urine sample, then dip the provided test stick inside. Most manufacturers provide several test strips. For women trying to conceive, it means you can perform the test as many times as it takes to determine your fertile window.
- No specific ovulation date:While an ovulation predictor kit is great at detecting an LH surge, it does not specify the exact date when ovulation occurs. There are even times when production of the LH hormone increases without any ovulation taking place. This condition is referred to as luteinized unruptured follicle syndrome.
- Incompatibility with certain fertility drugs: Another limitation is that these tests don’t work effectively if you’re on fertility drugs. Some injectable drugs and hCG hormone hinder OPKs from functioning efficiently.
Top 3 ovulation test kits
Easy@Home Ovulation Test Strips
If you’re looking to test multiple times, the 50 pack Ovulation Test Strips by Easy@Home. The kit is designed to test LH levels as low as 25 mIU/ml. The best part is it comes with an app, which helps you track and get a better picture of your cycle.
Clearblue Fertility Monitor
The Clearblue Fertility Monitor may be on the higher end of the price spectrum, but it offers you so much more. The package includes a test strip which you use to perform a urine test. Once you’re done, you’ll place the strip on the monitor and wait for your results.
One thing that sets this kit apart is its ability to predict your 2 most fertile days; hence, increasing your chances of getting pregnant. Plus, it displays a personalized reading depending on your past cycles.
First Response Ovulation Test
If you’re looking for a cheaper, no-frills testing kit, the First Response Ovulation Test is your best bet. Revered for its accuracy, this predictor test works a little differently from the rest.
It requires you to collect a urine sample every day for 7 days and then insert these test sticks into the digital reader. It then compares readings from previous days, and if you have a surge in LH, it notifies you.
FAQs about ovulation predictor kits
When is the best time for ovulation test?
To get the most accurate results, you should consider testing just a few days before your scheduled ovulation day. Are you having trouble figuring your ovulation date? Try using this ovulation calculator. Or you can do some basic math.
For most women, ovulation happens midway through their menstrual cycle, which is about 2 weeks after your period starts. Now, once you’ve determined your ovulation date, count back 3 to 4 days, and start using your predictor kit then. Let’s say your average cycle is 28 days. It means your ovulation probably takes place on day 14. Therefore, you should start testing on day 10 or 11.
What is the best time of the day for an ovulation test?
If you’ve been wondering what time of day to take the ovulation predictor test, well, the answer is anytime. It doesn’t matter the specific time of the day when you collect your urine sample. What matters is that you take it at the same time each day.
A quick tip: avoid taking fluids at least 2 hours before your scheduled test. Liquids can dilute the concentration of LH in your urine and this can lead to false results.
How accurate are OPKs?
Suppose you’re planning to start using these products. In that case, one of the questions lingering in your mind is, “Can ovulation predictor kits be wrong?” The short answer to this is no. As long as you use them properly, you’re guaranteed to get up to 99% accurate results.
That said, there are a couple of instances where your ovulation test results may be incorrect. This particularly happens if you:
Experience irregular periods: With such a cycle, you can’t quite figure out when you’re scheduled to start ovulating. As a result, you might end up using the test kit either too early or too late and, ultimately, miss your fertile window.
Suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This condition causes the LH levels in your body to surge multiple times every month. However, ovulation doesn’t take place with every sporadic surge. So you might test at the wrong time (when ovulation isn’t taking place) and end up with a false positive reading.
If you’re eager to get pregnant, consider investing in one of the best ovulation predictor kits. These test strips are safe to use and they offer an inexpensive way of figuring out when you’re ovulating. This way, you can maximize your chances of conceiving.
Most of these kits work by detecting the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your body, which increases when you’re about to start ovulating. If appropriately used, ovulation predictor kits give you a pretty accurate prediction of the best time to try for a baby.