What is an Ovulation Microscope?

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  • Written By: Pamela Pleasant
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2019
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An ovulation microscope is used to determine if a woman is ovulating. Saliva is taken from the mouth and placed under this microscope, where it can be observed. This is a way to measure fertility and to find out when a woman is most likely to conceive. Any hormonal changes will be seen through the ovulation microscope. When the test produces a positive result, it indicates the woman is approaching ovulation.

Cycle changes occur when there is an increase of estrogen. This is a female sex hormone and the production of it within the body fluctuates depending on where a woman is in her monthly cycle. When the estrogen hormone increases, ovulation can occur within two to four days. Typically, this is assessed by keeping track of the fluctuating levels of estrogen.

When an ovulation microscope detects changes, this is referred to as a ferning pattern. If there are only small spots or lines present, there is no sign of ferning, and this will yield a negative result. Small dots and forming lines can indicate a transitional period, which means changes are taking place. Ferning happens when dots are seen accompanied by lines with crystal formations. These formations resemble a leaf with veins going through it.


While using an ovulation microscope, it is important to document any changes. An ovulation journal should be kept and updated frequently. Along with the date, an accurate ovulation microscope reading should be taken. There are three ways to do this. The letter N beside a date indicates that the woman is not fertile, a T is a sign that she is in transition, while an F means that a woman is fertile and she is approaching ovulation.

The time between ferning and ovulation varies for each woman. To increase the chances for conception, a woman should use other indicators of fertility such as basal thermometer. For the most accurate outcome, the ovulation microscope should be used as soon as a woman wakes up in the morning. Things like drinking and eating or even brushing the teeth can have an effect on the results.

A hormonal imbalance or approaching menopause can change the result of this test. Estrogen levels can increase a few times within a month for a host of reasons, so it is important to learn about these fluctuations. Although an ovulation microscope can indicate fertility, the results can be inaccurate, so it should not be used as a form of birth control.



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