How Accurate are Ovulation Tests?
Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.
Written on 10/28/20
Timing is so important when it comes to getting pregnant, which means understanding your fertile window — or when you’re most likely to successfully conceive - is critical! But how can you determine when you’re fertile? Enter ovulation tests!
Ovulation tests or OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) can help track your fertile window and boost your chances of getting pregnant. These kits are easy-to-use, can be taken at home, and are necessary in timing intercourse correctly. But just how accurate are ovulation tests?
What is an ovulation test or ovulation predictor kit (OPK)?
Before we jump into the accuracy of these tests, it is important to know exactly what they measure. Ovulation occurs in a 24 hour period when a mature egg is released from an ovary and is ready to be fertilized, making it the time when intercourse is most likely to result in conception.
Ovulation typically happens in the middle of the menstrual cycle. Since every woman’s cycle is different, an OPK can help you determine when ovulation occurs for you. Having this information can give you the best chance at conception!
An ovulation test predicts when ovulation will occur. Ovulation happens once the ovary releases the egg into the fallopian tube.
An ovulation test measures the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. When LH surges, it indicates that ovulation is about to occur and signals the ovary to release the egg. Once ovulation has occurred, the luteinizing hormone tells your body to release progesterone through the empty follicle (the corpus luteum). Still with us? Great!
Reading an ovulation test
Reading an ovulation test is similar to reading other at-home tests. Two lines are typically always present on an LH test. When the test line is as dark or darker than the control line the test is considered positive, indicating ovulation is about to occur.
The first line represents the control line while the second line darkens when LH is detected. It’s important to note that your body typically has low levels of luteinizing hormone throughout your cycle, so if the line is faint or lighter than the control line, this means your body has yet to have its LH surge and the process of ovulation has not begun.
An ovulation predictor kit can have an 99% accuracy when used correctly.
What affects accuracy?
The good news is that when used correctly, an ovulation test has an approximate 99% accuracy rate of detecting LH in urine. Be sure to read all instructions thoroughly and follow each step to get the most accurate reading possible.
Even though ovulation tests are 99% accurate at detecting LH in urine, some women can have LH surges that do not result in ovulation.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common health problem affecting 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance. If you have PCOS you may experience multiple surges in luteinizing hormone each month without actual ovulation. This means that you got your LH surge, but the egg wasn’t released.
For women that have highly irregular periods, these surges can be harder to track. Women taking antibiotics or birth control can also have less-than accurate results since the added hormones and/or medicine can have an affect on your ovulation test. If you never get a positive test, we suggest checking in with your doctor.
Proov is 99% accurate at measuring PdG levels in urine!
After a positive ovulation test, what’s next?
If your test reads positive, indicating LH surge, then great! That means you are likely about to ovulate and can time intercourse correctly. However, a positive LH test only predicts ovulation; it fails to tell you if you did in fact ovulate.
So how do you know that you’ve ovulated and even have a chance at conception? By confirming successful ovulation with Proov!
Proov is the first and only FDA-cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home in just 5 minutes. Proov measures PdG — progesterone metabolite — levels in urine. Positive Proov tests on day 7-10 after peak fertility confirm successful ovulation occurred, meaning PdG levels remained adequately elevated for a long enough period of time to allow for the best possible chance at conception.
New Proov Ovulation Predict & Confirm Kit
Not only this, but the new Proov Predict and Confirm kit allows you to predict and confirm ovulation with just one test kit. The Predict and Confirm kit includes 15 LH tests for testing twice a day and 5 PdG tests for confirming you’ve successfully ovulated in one cycle.
Keep in mind that a positive LH and PdG test don’t always mean a positive pregnancy test. By using LH and PdG tests, you have more information about your body so you can be one step closer in your fertility journey. These accurate results can empower you to have better conversations with your doctor on next steps for how to get pregnant faster.