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.
Medically reviewed by: Dr. Joshua U. Klein. Dr. Klein is a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. He is also Chief Clinical Officer at Extend Fertility, a leading NY-based fertility clinic. Dr. Klein has also consistently been named “New York Super Doctor."
Written on 9/19/20
Updated on 5/20/21
If you’re trying to conceive, you may know there are many fertility tests on the market. Understanding different fertility tests and what their results mean will empower you with critical information on your trying to conceive journey!
Take an ovulation test, for example: ovulation tests help you and your partner time intercourse around peak fertility. Pregnancy tests, on the other hand, tell you if you are pregnant.
Read on to learn if a positive ovulation test is a sign of pregnancy!
What is an ovulation test?
Ovulation tests are urine-based tests that measure luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. Luteinizing hormone is the hormone that surges just before ovulation occurs and is responsible for stimulating the ovary to release an egg.
LH surges about 36 hours before ovulation is going to occur. So, if you get a positive ovulation test, there’s a pretty good chance you’re about to ovulate.
Of course, there are exceptions to almost every rule: some women, such as those with PCOS, may have hormone imbalances that can prevent ovulation. If you’re concerned about anovulation, we recommend consulting your doctor.
Why should I use an ovulation test?
Contrary to popular belief, there are only a few days each month when a woman can successfully conceive. This is known as your fertile window, which includes the few days leading up to and day of ovulation.
It’s during your fertile window when intercourse is most likely to result in pregnancy. So, ovulation tests give you critical information about when to time intercourse!
Intercourse is most likely to result in pregnancy during your fertile window, which includes the few days leading up to and day of ovulation.
When should I take an ovulation test?
Ovulation tests should be used during the first half of your cycle, leading up to your suspected ovulation date. We recommend beginning to test for ovulation about 18 days before your next period. This means if your cycles are 28 days long, you’ll want to start testing on day 10.
Earlier in your cycle, you’ll likely only test once a day. However LH surges can be short, so as you get closer and closer to ovulation, you may want to test twice a day (once in the morning, once in the evening) to make sure you catch it!
Once you get a positive ovulation test, you’ve detected an LH surge and your most fertile days. You can now time intercourse accordingly!
If I’m pregnant, will my ovulation test be positive?
To be clear, ovulation tests are intended to be used to predict ovulation and help you time intercourse around peak fertility to allow for the best possible chance at conception. They’re not meant to detect pregnancy and a positive ovulation test does not mean you’re pregnant — that’s what we have home pregnancy tests for!
However, you may have heard about some women using their ovulation tests as a pregnancy test. While this certainly is possible, we don’t recommend doing this because, well, that’s not what ovulation tests are for!
While ovulation tests are meant to predict ovulation, some women claim they use ovulation tests as pregnancy tests.
Wait — how does that work?
As we mentioned, ovulation tests measure LH in urine. Pregnancy tests, on the other hand measure human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone levels in urine. HCG is produced by cells in the placenta that nourish the embryo once it has attached to the uterine lining and tells a woman’s body she’s pregnant. It helps maintain the production of other vital hormones during pregnancy, such as estrogen and progesterone.
It just so happens that LH and hCG are both glycoproteins, or proteins that are built with a sugar attached to them. As we know, the functions of these two hormones are vastly different: LH stimulates ovulation, while hCG helps maintain pregnancy. However, their structures are super similar!
While LH and hCG have different functions in the body, their structures are very similar.
So similar, in fact, that some ovulation tests cannot tell the difference between LH and hCG in urine! While it’s unlikely that you’d test with an ovulation test past peak fertility, a positive ovulation test several days after ovulation has occurred may be a sign of pregnancy. But in general, we’d stick to testing for ovulation with ovulation tests and pregnancy with pregnancy tests.
When can I test for pregnancy?
While ovulation tests should be taken about 18 days before your period, it’s typically recommended that you wait to take a home pregnancy test until after a missed period, roughly two weeks after ovulation. It can take about 6 to 10 days for a fertilized egg to successfully implant.
We know, we know — for many women trying to conceive, the two week wait period can feel agonizing with little information about whether or not you’ve conceived. But did you know confirming ovulation during the two week wait can tell you if you even have a chance at pregnancy?
Ovulation tests are great for predicting when ovulation is going to occur to help you time intercourse and pregnancy tests are great for telling you if you’re pregnant. But without ovulation, conception isn’t possible. That’s why confirming successful ovulation can tell you if you even have a chance at getting pregnant that cycle.
What can Proov tests tell me?
With Proov you can predict and confirm successful ovulation — giving you powerful information about ovulation and your chances of getting pregnant.
Proov LH tests work like the other ovulation tests we’ve discussed. They measure LH levels in urine to predict your two most fertile days each cycle, allowing you to time intercourse accurately when TTC.
Proov PdG tests, on the other hand, are the first and only FDA cleared PdG tests to confirm successful ovulation at home. PdG is the urine metabolite of progesterone, which is produced by the corpus luteum (empty follicle) after ovulation has occurred. Elevated levels of PdG observed on days 7-10 after suspected ovulation confirm that successful ovulation did in fact occur. Successful ovulation occurs when an egg is released and post-ovulatory hormone levels remain elevated for an adequate amount of time, allowing for the best possible chance at conception!
Proov is the first and only FDA-cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home.
While a positive ovulation test may not be a sign of pregnancy, there are plenty of tools available to predict ovulation, confirm ovulation, and confirm pregnancy on your trying to conceive journey!