Ovulation is the part of your cycle when a mature egg is released from your ovary. It is the most fertile time of the month and is towards the end of the fertile window.
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Why did I purchase an ovulation test kit?
I have been using a period tracking app to help pinpoint my fertile window. But these fertility apps may not be very accurate in predicting ovulation so I wanted to try something more ‘scientific’ to better understand and track my cycle.
Ovulation can be predicted by monitoring luteinising hormone (LH) which increases 1-2 days before ovulation. Ovulation predictor kits or ovulation test strips detect increases in LH (known as the ‘LH surge’) which gives an indication that ovulation will occur soon. These kits or test strips are sold over-the-counter in supermarkets and chemists for use at-home.
I picked up the First Response 7 Day Pregnancy Planning Kit from the supermarket for $30 AUD. The kit contains:
- 7 x ovulation tests (strips)
- 1 x pregnancy test
- 1 x plastic cup for urine
This product can be purchased from Amazon Australia.
When did I start testing?
When you start testing depends on the length of your cycle. It’s recommended that testing starts a few days before the midway point of your cycle. This table is included in the instructions leaflet.
My cycles are regular at around 32 to 33 days so I started using the ovulation test strips on Day 15 of my cycle (15 days after my period started this month). I tested at about 9 pm each time which was about 2 hours after dinner.
If you have irregular cycles, instructions recommend using the average number of days for the last 3 months. For example, if your last few cycles have been 30 days, 40 days and 33 days, then the average is 34 days and you should start testing on Day 17.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss your LH surge, you could start testing after your period ends but you may need to use more than 1 box of test strips which may become expensive.
How do I use the ovulation test strips?
The instructions recommend:
- Testing at the same time each day
- Reducing liquid intake for 2 hours before testing.
The instructions leaflet includes detailed step-by-step instructions. Make sure you also have your phone or a timer with you. You need to pee in a cup and dip the strip into the cup with your urine sample for 10 seconds. The surface of the urine sample needs to be in the green area of the test strip. The cup is small so the test doesn’t need much urine.
Then leave the test strip flat on a non-absorbent surface (I put it on the bathroom floor) for 5 minutes before interpreting the results.
What does a positive ovulation test look like?
Some women are confused about how to interpret the test strips. There will be a total of two coloured pink-purple lines: one ‘TEST’ and one ‘CONTROL’ line. The darkness of these lines will determine if there is a LH surge (positive test) or no LH surge (negative test).
There are always 2 lines because there is LH present in urine throughout the cycle. If only 1 line appears then the test is invalid.
If there is a LH surge (positive test) then the coloured line next to the ‘TEST’ will be much darker (or similar in darkness) to the line next to ‘CONTROL’. This is my positive ovulation test which I got on Day 16. I could clearly see that the ‘TEST’ line was much darker than the ‘CONTROL’ line.
When you get a positive test, you don’t need to keep testing that month but get busy! Having sex everyday for 2-3 days from when you get a positive test maximises your chances of becoming pregnant. In fact, you’ll already be in your fertile window which starts 3-5 days before ovulation.
When there is no LH surge (a negative test), the line next to the ‘TEST” is lighter than the line next to the ‘CONTROL’, or there is no ‘TEST’ line at all.
Are ovulation tests accurate?
These tests may be less reliable in predicting ovulation if you:
- Have irregular cycles or periods
- Take certain prescription medications, such as drugs that assist with fertility
- Have certain medical conditions, such as PCOS, which causes high LH levels throughout your cycle and may cause you to have multiple LH surges in your cycle.
If you have irregular cycles, take fertility medications, have a fertility-related medical condition or are concerned you have infertility, speak with your GP or gynaecologist about ovulation test kits.
Using this test along with the fertility apps and checking cervical mucous gave me greater confidence about my fertile window. These are the first ovulation tests I’ve used and I found it easy to interpret the results. But the pee-and-dip process was fiddly as I always needed to pee more than what the cup could hold. I’d like to try the in-stream tests next as a comparison to this product.