Ovulation Predictor Kits
A word about Ovulation Predictor Kits
(Taken from ‘Taking Charge of Your Fertility’)
Since so many women now use these I must stress that whilst they can be quite useful, you should know by now that your own body usually provides you with as much valuable information as the kits, with less hassle and certainly at less cost. However, if you do choose to use them, you should be aware of that they can be misleading for the following reasons:
1. The kits test only for the occurrence of the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge that proceeds ovulation. They don’t indicate whether the woman has definitively ovulated afterward. In fact, many women may occasionally experience a condition called LUFS (Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome) in which they have an LH surge but the egg never actually pops out of the ovary.
2. A woman may experience false LH surges in which she has mini-peaks of LH before the real one, causing her to potentially time intercourse too early for the sperm to survive long enough for the release of the egg. In addition, if the woman has PCOS, her body may continually produce false LH surges, not indicative of impending ovulation.
3. The kit does not indicate whether the woman has suitable cervical fluid to allow sperm a medium in which to travel to the egg. In addition, by the time the kit does show a surge, the cervical fluid could already be starting to dry up.
4. The kits are only as accurate as the individual using them. There are typically many steps involved, any one of which can be performed improperly, rendering the test invalid. In addition, their accuracy can be compromised if exposed to excessive heat during delivery and storage.
5. The kits are only accurate if they test a woman’s fertility right around the time of ovulation. This is a very significant point, as the type of woman who purchases them is one who, by definition, has irregular cycles. Therefore, the typical kit, which has only 5 to 9 days worth of tests, will often not have enough to cover the range necessary for her to determine ovulation. For example, if a woman has cycles that are between 29 and 42 days, then her ovulation will generally vary between days 15 and 28, which is a range of 13 days. Since the kits last 9 days at most, it could be quite a challenge for the woman with irregular cycles to know what day of the cycle to begin testing. What this means is that women with irregular or long cycles should not start testing their urine until they notice their cervical fluid start to get wet, so as the test at the most appropriate time around ovulation.
6. Some fertility drugs can invalidate the results of these kits (Clomid does not have this effect).
7. Women over 40 can have elevated levels of luteinizing hormone that are not indicative of ovulation. A kit should only show a surge of one day. If it shows more than one day, there is an increased chance it is invalid.
8. Finally, you should be aware that if you happen to be pregnant already, the kit will simply imply that you aren’t ovulating. Of course, this is true, but this tells you nothing of your real condition (whereas charting would, as you will so learn).