At-Home Fertility Tests for Women
The diagnosis of infertility is clear, however, many of the approaches to overcoming it are not always the case. Infertility is a disease. It is the inability to achieve a successful pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected intercourse (in under 35 years) and 6 months for women older than 35 years. What is necessary is: egg, sperm and a place to meet. The most accurate diagnostics are to confirm that all three exist. Often new patients ask what fertility tests for women are available and whether they truly add to the diagnostic effort.
Do I Ovulate?
A normal menstrual cycle is 24-35 days. There is some variability. One month may be 26 and another 30. This variability is normal. The only way to have a relatively normal menstrual cycle is, in fact to ovulate (provided you are not on birth control pills- that is called a “withdrawal bleed”). It is sometimes the practice to obtain a progesterone level after ovulation to see if one did ovulate. Secondly, the progesterone level has three normal peaks during the day, so was the level drawn when it peaked? Or in a trough? It doesn’t matter.
At-Home Ovulation Prediction Tests
The science is clear. Luteinizing hormone goes up and down during the menstrual cycle and the rate of the increase and decrease signal release of the egg. The brain sends out a pulse of LH (the surge) which travels through the blood and to the follicle. The follicle, which houses the egg, prepares for its release. The egg prepares for release and to accept potential sperm.
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Testing
The LH kits measure urinary LH levels at what is expected to be the signal for egg release. It takes about 36 hours from the surge for egg release. LH is a decent measure of LH surge provided there is no other reason for a slightly higher LH level (PCOS patients, beware). However, it doesn’t make sense to check LH every time you use the toilet. What is worse is that it begins to dictate your intimacy. Positive LH surge – tonight is the night? And sex, the most intimate of affairs can become route.
- Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
The science is that progesterone (after ovulation) is thermogenic, which means it is the hormone responsible for a slight increase in one’s temperature. BBT is used by some couples to promote conception practices and for others to avoid it (the traditional rhythm method). Serial morning temperatures is inexpensive but also quite unreliable. Theoretically, the highest chance of fertility spans 7 days before the mid-cycle rise in temperature.
- Apps To Track Fertility
The apps- and there are many. They come in the form of calendars, watches, bracelets and vaginal inserts and can be predicated by temperature change, subtle metabolic factors and probably a lot of history (a calculation of previous cycle length is the best predictor of future cycles). Again, one must assess whether the definition of timing is of benefit or rent-free brain space and the equivalent of soil erosion for intimacy.
Fertility declines over time with age. Fortunately, with infertility treatments you have the option to take more control over your fertility. If you have more questions on what fertility tests for women are available or you are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, please contact us for a free initial consultation. We are here to help.