What are Ovulation Tests?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 December 2018
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Ovulation tests can be a helpful way of determining if you are about to or have just begun ovulation, the release of the egg from the ovary. Some women find them helpful in natural family planning, and others use them to increase their chances of getting pregnant during their most fertile time of the month.

Ovulation tests come in numerous forms. The most familiar ovulation tests are much like pregnancy tests, and they are designed to detect the presence of a specific hormone called luteinizing hormone. This hormone begins to release into the body right before ovulation occurs, and its presence is detectable in urine. With either mid-stream testing or test strips inserted into collected urine, women can get a positive or negative result on an ovulation test, which suggests that they are about to ovulate.

Since you can only become pregnant when sperm comes into contact with a released egg, these kits can give you a good sense of when to try for pregnancy. The greatest chance of getting pregnant occurs when intercourse is initiated within six to twenty-four hours after a positive test, though the test cannot indicate whether ovulation actually releases an egg, or if that egg is viable. Disadvantages to this testing include figuring out when in your cycle to test for ovulation.


Though most women ovulate midway through their cycle, counting from the first day of the last period, unpredictable cycles may mean using a lot of tests. Cost of each mid-stream test is slightly less than $2.00 US Dollars (USD), and strips may cost a little less than a dollar. Ordering in bulk is an excellent idea since it can take a while to figure out when to test, especially if your cycle is not regular.

There are other forms of ovulation tests like fertility monitors, which also check luteinizing hormones through urine test strips, but additionally evaluate other hormones like estrogen. These monitors can be pricey, but can be helpful for a couple having difficulty conceiving. The monitor costs about $200 USD, and test strips cost a little over $10 USD per month. Women test every day with this form of monitor, and know they will be approaching ovulation after getting several days of “high” readings.

Ovulation tests that analyze potential ovulation in different ways include saliva testing. As women approach ovulation, saliva collected, when viewed through a special lens, shows a fernlike pattern. With this method, women use a small microscope to analyze samples of saliva to detect these patterns. The cost is approximately the same as test strips, particularly if you plan to detect ovulation over several months. There can be human error in reading the patterns, which may make some women feel more comfortable using ovulation tests like urine strips or a fertility monitor.



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