Ovulation tests allow you to predict ovulation and anticipate the best time to have intercourse and conceive a baby. There are several different varieties of ovulation tests. Some women use one ovulation testing format, while other women combine different testing methods to best pinpoint fertility.
Saliva Ovulation Tests
A “personal ovulation microscope” allows you to predict fertility by observing the visual changes that take place in your saliva throughout your cycle. When a woman is about to ovulate, her saliva begins to form a distinct fern-like pattern (when viewed under a microscope) due to an increase in the level of estrogen present. This ferning pattern begins to appear around 3 days prior to ovulation.
With the ovulation microscopes, you simply apply saliva to a slide or lens and wait for the sample to dry. The sample is then viewed through a microscope allowing you to identify the fern-like pattern and predict ovulation. This ferning pattern can be easily identified when examined under the power of the microscope, helping you predict fertile or infertile times in your cycle.
Urine Ovulation Tests (LH Tests)
Ovulation tests work by detecting luteinizing hormone (LH). Just preceding ovulation, women experience an "LH surge" - a sudden, dramatic, and brief rise in the level of luteinizing hormone. Ovulation tests detect the LH surge, allowing you to accurately predict when you will ovulate. A positive result on an ovulation test means that the woman will most likely become fertile over the next three days - with peak fertility at 36 hours following the LH surge.
At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, the body begins to produce follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH facilitates the formation of a follicle on one of the ovaries. The follicle contains and nurtures the egg. When a follicle has adequately matured, a surge of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) causes the follicle to burst and release the egg into the fallopian tube - the moment of ovulation.
The LH surge is brief; in order to detect the LH surge, a woman needs to test at the right time of the month. Once the LH surge has been detected, successful fertilization is most likely to take place one to three days following the LH surge - with peak fertility 36 hours after the LH surge (or positive result). Since this ovulation "window" only opens once per month (and the unfertilized egg has a short 24-hour life-span) predicting ovulation accurately is very helpful when trying to become pregnant.
Recording each day's body temperature - and charting the patterns of temperature change - will help pinpoint when when ovulation occurs in your cycle and help you predict your most fertile times.
Because basal body temperature (BBT) charting allows a woman to confirm the onset of ovulation, it is a very useful method in helping facilitate conception - as well as understanding the general patterns of a woman's menstrual cycle.