Ovulation kits (also known as ovulation predictor kits) offer an accurate way to pinpoint when you are about to ovulate. This means you can time sex to coincide with your most fertile days each month.
How do ovulation kits work?
Most ovulation kits working by detecting a hormone called luteinising hormone (LH) in your urine. Levels of this hormone rise steeply about two days before you ovulate and an ovulation kit can detect this peak. Having sex during these days should give you the best possible chance of conceiving.
What are the advantages?
Some women find it helpful to pinpoint when they are ovulating so that they can time sex accordingly. This can be helpful if, for example, you can’t have regular sex with your partner throughout your cycle perhaps because one of you works away from home a lot. Or maybe you have been trying for a baby for a while and want to understand your cycle better.
What are the disadvantages?
Lots of fertility experts warn against getting too obsessed with your fertile period. It can take the fun out of sex and put unnecessary pressure on you and your partner.
One solution is to use ovulation kits for a few months to get a clearer idea of when you are fertile, then carry on as you were before.
How do I use one?
Ovulation kits vary slightly, but most come with a dipstick that you can either hold in the flow of urine as you wee or dip into a clean pot containing fresh urine. The instructions will tell you what a positive result looks like – it could be a line or a smiley face, for example. The result will take just a few minutes to appear.
It would be expensive to test throughout your cycle so it’s best just to test in the five or so days leading up to ovulation, when your LH levels are most likely to be rising. Try to test at the same time each day if you can.
You can also buy digital fertility monitors that detect rising levels of oestrogen prior to ovulation as well as LH. This means you can pinpoint up to six fertile days rather than just two.
When should I start testing?
First, it’s a good idea to keep a note of your cycle for a couple of months before you buy kits. You’ll normally ovulate about 14 days before your next period. You’ll need to start testing about five days before this. If you’re not sure when you are likely to ovulate, try testing from about day 10. You can then start testing later or earlier in your next cycle according to the first set of results you get.
Where can I get an ovulation kit?
Ovulation kits are available over the counter from chemists and supermarkets, and online.