How Do Ovulation Tests Work?
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.
When it comes to trying to conceive, timing is so important! There are just a few days each month where you can successfully conceive, also known as your “fertile window,” and only one day when ovulation actually occurs.
But how do you know when you’re going to ovulate? Enter ovulation tests! These widely available and easy-to-use tests can give you insight into your fertile window to help you accurately time intercourse and get pregnant faster.
Ovulation tests help you time intercourse and get pregnant faster
What are ovulation tests?
Ovulation tests are urine-based test strips that measure luteinizing hormone to predict ovulation. Sometimes you’ll hear ovulation tests called ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) or luteinizing hormone (LH) tests. No need to get confused — all names refer to the same thing!
How do ovulation tests work?
Ovulation tests measure changes in luteinizing hormone levels to predict when ovulation is going to occur. During the first half of your cycle a rise in luteinizing hormone, also known as a surge, is responsible for stimulating the ovaries to release an egg. After ovulation, LH stimulates the empty follicle (corpus luteum) to release progesterone.
Ovulation tests measure the spike in LH that occurs approximately 36 hours before ovulation so you can determine peak fertility!
Are ovulation tests accurate?
The short answer: yes. Most ovulation tests are 99% accurate at detecting a surge in luteinizing hormone. However, about 1 in 10 women will never get a positive ovulation test for a variety of reasons.
Some women will have LH surges but their levels may never reach the level required to turn the tests positive. In other women, such as those with PCOS, certain hormone imbalances prevent LH surges or cause irregular cycle patterns. If you never get a positive LH test, we recommend talking to your doctor.
Ovulation tests measure a surge in luteinizing hormone that occurs about 36 hours before ovulation.
What are the different types of ovulation tests?
Ovulation tests come in two different forms and quantify results in one of two ways. Each test is different so it’s important to figure out which tests work best for you and your lifestyle.
The two different types of ovulation tests are strip-based tests and midstream tests.
Strip-based tests: These are most likely what come to mind when you think of an ovulation test. These tests are dipped into an already collected urine sample. You’ll dip the strip for about 5 seconds, let it process, and read the result.
Midstream tests: Midstream tests are pretty self-explanatory — instead of collecting a urine sample, you pee directly on these tests. They typically come with larger plastic casings than the strip-based tests to make them easier to hold when you’re midstream.
Once you understand the different types of ovulation tests, you can dive into the two ways ovulation tests quantify results: threshold and semi-quantitative tests.
Threshold tests: Threshold tests turn positive when LH reaches a certain level. According to recent studies, the ideal threshold for ovulation tests is 25-30 mIU/mL. The average ovulation test will likely have a threshold of 25 mIU/mL. Threshold tests are considered positive when the test line is as darker or darker than the control line.
Semi-quantitative tests: Semi-quantitative tests show your LH levels over time. This means that as you test closer and closer to the LH surge, the test line will become darker. If you’re interested in watching your levels rise, a semi-quantitative test may be a good fit for you. Semi-quantitative tests show LH ranges as low, medium, or high fertility.
When do you use an ovulation test?
Now that you’ve picked the right test for you, it’s time to start peeing on sticks! It’s important to note that there are a ton of different ovulation tests and each will have slightly different instructions, so be sure to read carefully.
Ovulation occurs in the middle of your cycle and your most fertile days are the days leading up to ovulation. To make sure you catch those fertile days, you’ll want to start testing with ovulation tests about 18 days before your next period. So, if your cycle length is 28 days, you’ll want to start testing on cycle day 10, for example.
Use ovulation tests before ovulation and Proov to confirm ovulation
Earlier in your cycle, you may only want to test LH levels once a day. But, as you get closer to the day of suspected ovulation, it’s smart to test in the mornings and evenings. LH surges can be short so testing twice a day gives you a better chance of catching it close to when it actually happens.
Remember! Always read your ovulation test instructions carefully.
Some tests require first morning urine while others call for afternoon urine. Every ovulation test works differently.
But...predicting ovulation is only one piece of the pregnancy puzzle!
Ovulation tests give you powerful information about your fertile window so that you can time intercourse and give yourself a better chance at successfully conceiving. But once you get a positive ovulation test and time intercourse correctly, what’s next? How do you know your efforts even have a chance at resulting in pregnancy?
By confirming successful ovulation! Successful ovulation occurs when not only is an egg released, but post-ovulatory hormone levels also remain adequately elevated for a long enough period of time to allow for the best possible chance at conception.
Proov is the first and only FDA-cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation. PdG is the urine metabolite of progesterone and only rises after an egg has been released. Elevated PdG levels on days 7, 8, 9, and 10 after peak fertility confirm that successful ovulation has occurred.
With ovulation tests and Proov you can predict and confirm ovulation, helping you successfully conceive faster!
Have questions about ovulation tests? Reach out to us at email@example.com!
Written on 9/13/20