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People who are trying to conceive can take ovulation tests to help predict when they will be most fertile and increase their chance of becoming pregnant.
This article discusses how home ovulation tests work, their accuracy, and the best ovulation kits on the market.
Ovulation is a phase in the menstrual cycle when an ovary releases a mature egg, or ovum, into the uterus. The mature egg is either fertilized by sperm, leading to conception, or is shed along with the uterus lining, leading to menstruation.
A surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) triggers the ovary to release its egg, which usually happens in the middle of a person’s cycle. This is typically the 14th day in a 28-day cycle and about 24–36 hours before ovulation.
Timing sexual intercourse for shortly after this surge increases the chance of an egg and sperm meeting during the fertile window.
Most ovulation tests, or ovulation predictor kits (OPK), measure a person’s LH levels — especially the LH surge — to help them determine the days when they are most fertile.
Other tests also measure estrogen levels by detecting estrone-3 glucuronide (E3G) content in urine. E3G levels increase when ovulation is near, which triggers the LH surge.
There are many types of ovulation kits offering different testing methods. A person should follow the kit instructions carefully to ensure accurate results.
Ovulation tests come in various forms, such as cassettes, strips, and at-home blood test kits. They usually come in sets of five or more.
This type requires a person to collect a urine sample and use a pipette to place a few drops of urine onto the sample area.
Strips or sticks
Newer ovulation tests come in strips or sticks. These require a person to either urinate directly on the test or dip the stick into a cup of collected urine.
Some come as standalone strips. Others show digital results, while others have monitors that log and display results.
Some tests also come with apps that serve as digital readers and track a person’s ovulation cycle.
Saliva tests predict a person’s ovulation based on whether or not their dried saliva forms a fern-shaped pattern. These tests rely on microscopes to detect ferning.
At-home hormone test kits
Health diagnostics companies offer various at-home hormone test kits. These require a person to draw a blood sample and send it to the company’s laboratory.
People can see their results through their online account or the company’s website or app.
In one 2020 study, women who used home ovulation tests with a connected app were twice as likely to conceive during the first cycle than those who did not. A similar
However, LH surges may not always indicate actual ovulation. An older observational study states that LH surges are variable and have several types. For example, women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) tend to have high LH levels or multiple peaks.
Because of this, the tests cannot confirm the occurrence of ovulation with 100% accuracy.
People with hormonal imbalances may find more accurate results with non-hormonal methods of predicting ovulation than with tests that rely on hormone levels.
Many of these tests are not FDA-approved for home testing and should not replace ongoing consultations with a fertility specialist.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.
This home test provides a comprehensive picture of a person’s hormonal and fertility status by checking four hormones.
A physician reviews the test results to discuss them. Customers have access to 24/7 medical support.
A subscription option is available, and the company accepts flexible spending account (FSA) and health savings account (HSA) cards.
This test measures five hormones that can affect a person’s menstrual cycle and ovulation through a blood sample.
Customers can review a personalized digital report and attend a free live webinar from a healthcare professional to discuss their results.
The company provides free shipping and accepts FSA and HSA cards.
This test comes with 20 ovulation tests that detect LH levels and work in sync with a person’s cycle. The company also offers a free app that a person can use to log their LH results.
The test determines a person’s 2 most fertile days and tracks low, high, and peak LH levels. Users can access an online community of other customers to discuss results and issues.
Customers receive free shipping, and monthly subscriptions are available. The company also accepts FSA and HSA cards.
This kit comes with 10 wands that work with the Mira Analyzer monitor. The company claims that these tests are PCOS- and irregular cycle-friendly.
The Mira Fertility Tracker app is iOS- and Android-compatible. It provides full fertile window tracking and AI-powered cycle analysis.
Mira is FDA- and CE-registered and ships worldwide. There is a 90-day money-back guarantee, and customers have access to 24/7 support.
This test detects 4 or more fertile days each cycle and tracks both LH and estrogen levels. It identifies a person’s high and peak fertility days. The test also comes with a reusable reader that shows the results on a digital display.
This option comes with 10 or 20 tests and requires a person to collect urine immediately after waking up. Users cannot perform another test for 48 hours while the reader is displaying peak fertility.
The following are answers to some frequently asked questions about ovulation tests.
How many days after a positive ovulation test am I fertile?
A person is usually fertile for 2.5 days (60 hours) after a positive ovulation test.
Ovulation typically occurs 1 to 1.5 days (24–36 hours) after the LH surge, and sperm can only fertilize an egg a day (24 hours) after the egg’s release from the ovary.
How do I know if I am ovulating?
People can experience several symptoms that may indicate ovulation, including cervical mucus changes, breast tenderness, light spotting, pelvic or abdominal pain, and changes in sex drive.
People can also predict ovulation by monitoring their basal body temperature, tracking their menstrual cycle, and using ovulation kits.
Can I get false results?
Ovulation tests can sometimes yield false results. A person should remember that these tests measure hormone levels, which a range of other factors can affect.
Since most kits check LH levels, they can yield false positives — especially if a person has high LH levels or several LH surges. There are also cases in which a person has LH surges but does not ovulate.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that people under the age of 35 years contact a doctor if they have not conceived after a year of having regular sexual intercourse without birth control.
People older than 35 years should consider contacting a doctor after 6 months of struggling to conceive. However, people aged 40 years and older should not wait. They should arrange an evaluation with a doctor as soon as possible.
People who are trying to conceive should contact a doctor sooner than a year if they have:
- irregular periods or absent periods
- a history of pelvic infections, scar tissue, or endometriosis
- received treatment for cancer
- a sexually transmitted infection
- had two or more pregnancy losses
People use ovulation kits to predict their fertile window and increase their chance of becoming pregnant. However, these tests check for hormone levels and do not confirm ovulation with complete accuracy.
There are several ovulation tests available on the market, many of which are available to order online and use at home. Some require urine samples, some require blood samples, and some require saliva.
A doctor can offer advice on choosing and using ovulation kits or issues with conceiving.