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: 12/24/20
Ovulation plays a pivotal role in pregnancy, and understanding how it works can increase your odds of a successful conception. Read on to learn about the hormones responsible for ovulation and how you can track them.
What is ovulation?
Ovulation is the release of an egg from a woman’s ovary. Once released, the egg travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus to await fertilization by a man’s sperm. An egg is viable for up to 24 hours after release.
Ovulation is the release of an egg from a woman’s ovary. Once released, an egg is viable for up to 24 hours.
When does it occur?
Ovulation typically occurs about halfway through your cycle. For a woman with a 28-day cycle, this means ovulation would occur around day 14. However, not every woman has a 28-day cycle which is why it’s important to track your specific ovulation date.
Which hormone is responsible for ovulation?
Are you curious what hormones are involved in ovulation? The ovulation process starts in the brain. The hypothalamus — a gland in the brain tasked with maintaining hormone levels in your body — secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) at the beginning of the follicular phase (that is, the first day of your menstrual cycle). GnRH then signals the pituitary gland, another gland in the brain, to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
FSH sends a signal to the undeveloped eggs in your uterus and these eggs start maturing. However, only one egg will become dominant and reach full maturity; the others will disintegrate. At the same time, your maturing follicles release estrogen, a hormone for ovulation that builds your uterine lining to prepare for possible conception.
The heightened levels of estrogen also cause your pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone (LH). LH tells your ovaries that it’s time to release a fully developed egg. Anywhere from 24 to 36 hours after your pituitary gland has released LH into your system, the egg ruptures the ovary wall and heads into the fallopian tubes where it waits for the sperm.
The corpus luteum, the follicle the egg was released from, then begins to produce progesterone. Is progesterone responsible for ovulation? Progesterone is a hormone responsible for ovulation because it stabilizes the uterine lining and making it “sticky” enough for an embryo to implant. If conception does not occur, progesterone production stops, and the thick lining is shed during menstruation. If a woman becomes pregnant, the corpus luteum continues to produce progesterone until the placenta takes over the task.
Progesterone is often called the “pregnancy hormone” because a woman’s body releases it throughout pregnancy. However, it’s not by any means the only hormone involved in the ovulation process. GnRH, FSH, LH, estrogen, and progesterone all work together to prepare a woman’s body for a successful conception and pregnancy.
Progesterone is the hormone responsible for stabilizing the uterine lining and making it “sticky” enough for an embryo to implant.
How do I predict when ovulation is going to occur?
For a woman with a 28-day cycle, ovulation should occur around day 14 of the cycle. However, we know that most women have cycles that can last anywhere from 22-36 days in length. If this is the case, a day-14 ovulation date may not always be accurate.
This is why it is so important to track ovulation and predict when it is going to occur. There are a few different methods you can use to predict ovulation:
Ovulation tests: Ovulation tests (or ovulation predictor kits) measure LH levels in urine to detect the LH surge that triggers ovulation. After a positive ovulation test, you can assume that ovulation may occur in the next 24-36 hours.
Cervical mucus monitoring: Cervical mucus monitoring involves tracking changes in cervical mucus consistency throughout your cycle. For most of your cycle, cervical mucus will be dry and sticky. But around ovulation, cervical mucus will become wet and stretchy.
Basal body temperature (BBT) tracking: BBT tracking requires tracking the subtle changes in your body’s lowest resting temperature before and after ovulation occurs. Before ovulation occurs, BBT will slightly dip then, after ovulation, it will rise and remain elevated for several days.
Ovulation tests, cervical mucus monitoring, and basal body temperature tracking are all methods for predicting ovulation.
How do I confirm ovulation?
Predicting ovulation only provides half of the ovulation picture — without confirming that ovulation occurred and was successful, you won’t know if you even have a chance at conception that cycle.
While methods like basal body temperature tracking and a progesterone blood test can confirm ovulation, only a PdG (a urine metabolite of progesterone) test can confirm “successful” ovulation. Successful ovulation refers to an ovulatory event in which an egg was released and PdG levels remained adequately elevated for long enough to allow for the best possible chance at conception.
Proov is the first and only FDA cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home. Testing with Proov PdG tests on days 7, 8, 9, and 10 days after peak fertility confirms that ovulation was successful and you have the best possible chance at conception that cycle.
Using Proov to predict and confirm ovulation
The new Proov Predict and Confirm kit empowers you to to predict and confirm ovulation with just one pack of hormone tests. Proov Predict and Confirm comes with 15 ovulation (LH) tests to find your two most fertile days and 5 PdG tests to confirm that ovulation was successful.
The Proov Predict and Confirm kit comes with 15 ovulation (LH) tests to find your two most fertile days and 5 PdG tests to confirm successful ovulation.
We recommend beginning to test with Proov LH tests about 18 days before your next period. As you near your day of suspected ovulation, you may want to test LH twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening) to ensure you catch peak fertility, as LH surges can be short. With 15 LH tests, you should have enough for one cycle of testing.
After getting a positive LH test, you’ll then count 7 days and use the PdG tests on days 7, 8, 9, and 10 after peak fertility. We like to see four positive tests during this window to confirm ovulation was successful.
Understanding the hormones responsible for ovulation allows you to predict and confirm ovulation, so that you can reach your fertility goals faster!