How to use an Ovulation Predictor Kit to Acheive Pregnancy

Let’s face it: when you’re ready to have a baby, you’re ready now. You want to conceive as quickly as possible. Why let month after month go by without a positive pregnancy test when there is a proven method to increase your chances of conceiving and it is as simple as using a home pregnancy test? Ovulation Predictor Kits are an easy, inexpensive way to track your fertile time and make conceiving a baby more possible. There are many brands of ovulation predictor kits on the market, but the method in which you utilize the kit is the same across the board.

A typical healthy woman’s reproductive system functions on a 28-day cycle. Day one of the cycle is the first day of menstrual bleeding. This bleeding lasts anywhere from three to seven days. It is during this time in which the ovary is preparing to release an egg. From cycle day one to approximately cycle day fourteen, the ovarian follicle is maturing in preparation to release an egg for fertilization. Around cycle day thirteen, a hormone in the female’s body called the Luteinizing Hormone, or LH, rises to a peak to stimulate the release of the egg. Within twelve to forty-eight hours after the LH surge, an egg will be released. After the egg is released, the LH drops back to its normal level within the woman’s body and the egg travels down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. The egg will typically survive for twelve to twenty-four hours in the woman’s reproductive tract before dissolving if it is not fertilized by a sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, a woman will go on to have another menstrual cycle of bleeding starting on approximately cycle day twenty-eight and the cycle begins again.

How do ovulation predictor kits work exactly? They work by identifying the Luteinizing Hormone which is always present in a woman’s body. During the fertile period of a woman’s menstrual cycle when she is about to ovulate, her body produces a higher amount of LH, or an LH surge, which signals her body to release an egg for fertilization. The ovulation predictor kit provides you with a visual indicator that the LH has peaked. From the point at which the LH surge is detected, sexual intercourse is advised for the following three to five days in order to attempt to achieve pregnancy.

Okay, so you’ve made the decision to use an OPK. Which one should you use? There are several types on the market but in my opinion, the best type of kit to use is the one that comes with the greatest amount of test strips. (Kits come with between seven to twenty test strips.) The reason you’ll want to use a kit with the most amount of test strips is so that you can detect the LH surge and then continue to test so that you can see when the LH surge is complete and the LH in your body has dropped down to the level it was before the surge. The only way to be able to do this is with a kit that contains a large amount of test strips.

Follow the instructions on the box as to when in your cycle to begin testing. If you have a shorter cycle then you will begin testing sooner (from the start of your period) than if you have a longer cycle. Decide what time of day you will do the test and always test at the same time of day. Even though the package may say to use first morning urine for the test, LH is synthesized in the early morning hours and is not metabolized into your urine until later in the day. Therefore it is best to test in the late morning (between 11am-3pm) or later in the day (between 5pm-10pm).

The kit will contain a small cup in which to collect a urine sample. Collect about 2 ounces of urine to conduct the test. Take out one test strip from the cylinder and re-cap the cylinder of remaining test strips. Dip the test end of the strip (which is clearly marked on the strip) into the urine sample for fifteen seconds and then place it on a flat, clean surface to develop. Have a timer nearby because you will need to time the development of the test accurately. Most tests take five minutes to show a result. After the time has elapsed, read the result of the test and document the result on a pad of paper alongside the date on which you took the test. You may even want to snap a picture of the test for comparison to future tests. Do not keep the test after the five minutes have elapsed.

The strip contains an area for a control line and a test line to appear. First and foremost, for the test to be valid, the control line must appear after dipped into the urine sample. The test line will then appear when the LH has been detected in the sample. An ovulation predictor kit is considered positive when the test line appears darker than or as dark as the control line on the test strip. If the test line is not as dark as or darker than the control line, the test is considered negative. Keep in mind, LH is always present in a woman’s body. Therefore, a line may be visible in the test area of the test strip but the test may be negative.

Sometimes the LH surge in a woman’s body will only remain present for less than twenty-four hours. Therefore, it is a good idea to test twice a day so that you do not miss your LH surge. I would recommend testing at 10am and 9pm. This is why it is a good idea to go with an OPK that includes twenty test strips versus some that only contain seven.

Once you have detected your LH surge with the OPK, it is time to focus on having intercourse because you will likely release an egg within the next twelve to forty-eight hours. It is best to aim to have intercourse the days before the surge and once a day for the day of the surge and the three to five days after the surge ends. This will maximize your chances of becoming pregnant. Do not use an over-the-counter lubricant during intercourse, as they can deter the sperm from reaching the egg and can even kill the sperm. If you need to use a lubricant, be sure to use one safe for conception such as Pre-Seed.

Continue using the OPK during your cycle so that you can determine when your surge occurs and when it is complete. Once your surge falls and you have engaged in intercourse to hopefully catch the egg, the waiting begins. Approximately six to twelve days after ovulation, if the egg has been fertilized by a sperm, it will implant in the uterine wall. After implantation occurs, the body begins emitting a hormone, hCG, which indicates that a woman is pregnant. Home pregnancy tests identify the presence of hCG in the body. It is a good idea to wait until the day after your period is due to take a home pregnancy test, although a test can accurately determine pregnancy as early as five days before a missed period.

If you are not successful the first month of trying to conceive, don’t give up. Most couples who are actively trying to conceive are successful within the first year of trying and by using an ovulation predictor kit your odds are greatly increased. If you have not become pregnant within six months of trying to conceive using an ovulation predictor kit, I would highly recommend scheduling an appointment with your OB-GYN to discuss fertility issues. Take your documentation of your cycles with you to the appointment to go over with your doctor. Many fertility issues can be resolved with the help of modern medicine.

Ovulation predictor kits are a simple way to help you monitor your cycles and determine the best time every month to try for a baby. If you are actively trying to conceive, why not give an OPK a shot? You’ve got nothing to lose and a baby to gain!