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How to Read an Ovulation Test

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 10/17/20

An ovulation test (also known as an ovulation predictor kit or OPK) is a great tool to help you on your trying to conceive journey. They are easy-to-use and help determine your peak fertility — the days during your cycle when intercourse is most likely result in conception — by measuring luteinizing hormone (LH) in urine. 

Using ovulation tests can help you better time intercourse around ovulation and get pregnant faster!

How do you read an ovulation test?  

If you’re trying to conceive, ovulation tests are a great place to start. They can bring you one step closer to finding your fertile window and timing intercourse correctly.

calendar chart track peak fertility

Learning how to read an ovulation test can help you find your peak fertility window each month.

While learning how to read an ovulation test can be simple, the hard part is knowing which kit may be right for you. There are over 50 different ovulation tests on the market, which is a lot to sort through! Finding your best fit is based on personal preference, so we’d suggest doing a little research. 

Once you’ve chosen your ovulation test, it’s time to start testing. Like many at-home pregnancy tests, an ovulation test utilizes lines to indicate a positive or negative result. For most at-home ovulation tests, you need to see the presence of two lines to predict ovulation.

know the lines

Knowing how many lines to look for is important when using an ovulation prediction kit or an ovulation confirmation test.

The first line is the control line and the second measures the rise of the luteinizing hormone. An LH surge triggers the release of an egg from the ovary. So if you receive a positive ovulation test, it’s a great indicator that ovulation will happen in the next 12 to 36 hours. This opens your fertile window and let’s you know it’s time to start having intercourse! 

What does an ovulation test look like when it’s positive?

Similar to an at-home pregnancy test, positive ovulation tests will show two lines. The first line, often pink, is the control line. This indicates and ensures the test was taken properly. The second line represents the positive result. This line only shows up with the presence of luteinizing hormone.  

How do I read my results?

There is always a low-level presence of luteinizing hormone in the body. However, as the amount of LH increases, your ovulation test turns positive. If you read a test and there are two lines present, but the second line is faint or not as dark as the control line, this is a negative test. As LH levels in urine increase over time, the secondary line will become darker and more prominent than the control line, turning into a positive result. 

Is a Proov PdG test read the same as an ovulation test?

Not exactly! Proov PdG tests are the first and only FDA-cleared PdG test for ovulation confirmation. Instead of measuring LH to predict ovulation, Proov measures PdG to confirm that successful ovulation did in fact occur.

luteal phase graph

LH levels can predict ovulation while PdG is used to confirm that successful ovulation has occurred.

PdG is the urine metabolite of progesterone and only rises after ovulation occurs. PdG must also stay elevated for a long enough period of time in order for ovulation to be considered “successful,” meaning it allowed for the best possible chance at conception.

Since Proov PdG tests measure a different hormone, reading the test is also different! On a Proov PdG test, the presence of two lines is a negative result. The science behind the test is a bit complicated but essentially in an ovulation or pregnancy test, the tested hormone is “sandwiched” between antibodies. However, PdG has a much smaller structure and can’t be tested the same way.

So, as PdG rises, the test line disappears and you end up with one line instead of two for a positive result. Two lines always indicate a negative result regardless of how faint or dark the lines are on a Proov test. 

Predicting and confirming ovulation can help you get pregnant faster 

Studies show that ovulatory disorders are the #1 cause of infertility. This is why predicting and confirming successful ovulation is so important! LH and PdG tests are great options for getting started.

Proov predict and confirm ovulation

Predicting and confirming ovulation can help you on your journey to becoming pregnant. 

With the brand new Proov Predict and Confirm kit, you can predict and confirm successful ovulation with just one hormone test kit! With 15 LH tests and 5 PdG tests, you’re all set for an entire cycle of testing.

Wait — can I use an ovulation test as a pregnancy test?

Although you may have heard about women using their ovulation tests as pregnancy tests, the answer is no. An ovulation test cannot be used as a pregnancy test.

The tests measure two different hormones. While an ovulation test is testing for LH surges and the presence of luteinizing hormone, a pregnancy test is measuring the amount of HCG, human chorionic gonadotropin, present in urine. This hormone is typically only created during a pregnancy in a woman’s uterus once a fertilized egg has implanted. Ovulation tests are to be taken during a woman’s cycle and a pregnancy test is taken after a missed period. Using tests as they’re directed will help you reach your goals faster!

While the journey to getting pregnant can be challenging, tools like ovulation tests can help you reach your destination faster! Learning how to use and read an ovulation test is an important step in your TTC journey!