Ovulation Tests and Testing

Ovulation testing allows you to predict ovulation and anticipate the best time to have intercourse to conceive a baby, as well as understand more completely how your body works. Unlike BBT charting, ovulation testing helps you anticipate ovulation – not just confirm that ovulation has already happened. There are two main ovulation testing varieties: tests that measure luteinizing hormone (LH) in your saliva (or ovulation microscopes) and tests that measure LH in your urine (OPKs or ovulation test sticks/strips).

Saliva-based ovulation tests require the collection of a saliva sample, by swabbing your tongue and placing it on a microscope lens or slide for examination. Your saliva begins to form distinct fern-like patterns (when observed under a microscope) about 3 days prior to ovulation, caused by increased estrogen.Unlike urine-based tests, test your saliva first thing in the morning, before drinking water or brushing your teeth. After observing your saliva, record your observations on your chart. The average cost for a salvia-based test is about $30-$80 and includes a portable microscope and multiple slides, which are reusable.

Some urine-based ovulation tests require the collection of a urine sample to dip the test strip in, while others require holding the test strip in your urine stream (midstream test). There are others that require you to collect your urine and drop it into a test hole. Make sure you read and follow the instructions on the package carefully. The average cost for a urine-based test is approximately $15-$25 for a 5-day testing pack and they are not reusable.

Ovulation takes place once your pituitary gland releases a burst of LH, causing a follicle within your ovaries to break open and release an egg into one of your fallopian tubes. Just preceding ovulation, women experience this “LH surge”, which is basically a sudden, dramatic, and brief rise in the level of LH. A small amount of LH is present throughout your menstrual cycle, but during the middle of your cycle, it dramatically increases. LH levels are only elevated for a couple of days each cycle (when you are most fertile). Urine-based ovulation tests work by detecting the surge in LH, allowing you to predict with great accuracy your most fertile time of the month.

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