Can I Test My Fertility At Home?
Patients often ask “can I test my fertility at home?” At-home fertility tests are available over-the-counter, however, it is important to note that this does not replace the testing that would be done with a physician. Some fertility hormones can only be measured through a blood test, while luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen can be tested through urine. That means, if you are trying to determine when you are ovulating, you can actually test for this at home.
When to Take an Ovulation Test
The cyclic menstrual cycle is predictable. In the first half of the cycle, care is taken to groom the best egg for fertilization. Once this egg reaches the maturity parameter; ovulation is triggered and the released oocyte sets out on its journey into the fallopian tube. Here it is fertilized by the sperm and then continues in the fallopian tube toward the uterus where the developing embryo implants. During the second half of the menstrual cycle, fertilization and embryo development is occurring in the fallopian tube. Importantly during this second phase, the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, is being cultivated for the embryo’s arrival. At this time, the endometrium is exposed to the pro-gestation-al hormone, progesterone.
At-Home Ovulation Predictor Kits
Our ability to define precisely the phases of the menstrual cycle and to make reasonably accurate predictions toward optimal times for conception is based on the above knowledge. Tests previously offered through physician’s office and testing labs have transitioned to reasonably, reliable at-home tests. This transition driven in part by technology and by increasing costs of office-based services affords patients both simplicity and autonomy.
What Does an Ovulation Predictor Kit Look For?
The ovulated egg has a very short existence as a sole entity. Without fertilization, it disintegrates within 24 hours. Sperm, on the other hand, can live up to 4-5 days after ejaculation in the cervical canal. Thus, the limiting factor toward determining the fertile window is driven by knowing the time of ovulation. There are two major means available to determine the approximate time of ovulation: physiologic observation (cervical mucus and basal body charts), and measurement of physiologic metabolites (urinary LH [luteinizing hormone], salivary screens).
The test is looking for normal levels of LH in the urine. Typically, many kits advise to start around Day 9 of your cycle, considering Day 1 to be the first full day of your menstrual flow. Once an elevated level is captured, the test will show a positive reading indicating you are close to ovulation. Determining the exact time of ovulation can help know when the best time to conceive is. In this instance, ovulation predictor kits can be very helpful.
When To Schedule a Fertility Consultation
Taking actions to understand your fertility is a helpful first step. If a woman under the age of 35 has not conceived after one year of trying, or 35 years or older after six months, she should consult with a reproductive endocrinologist for a fertility evaluation.
At Fertility Centers of New England, our goal is to optimize all aspects of a patient’s overall health in order to have the best possible chance of conceiving. If you have more questions from ‘can I test my fertility at home” to “when should I see a fertility doctor?”, please contact us today!
*Your consultation is FREE if you don’t have infertility insurance coverage.