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Are Ovulation Predictors Accurate?

For couples that are wanting to start their lives together as parents, it is important to keep watch over ovulation in order to create the best chances for conception. Tracking the pattern of the menstrual cycle is an easy step in this direction, but for those seeking the highest levels of accuracy, perhaps it is time to look into Ovulation Predictors!

While attempting to get pregnant, it may become necessary to look at the fertility of the male and female partner if conception takes longer than expected. Although pregnancy often comes easily, a little bit of planning goes a long way to ensure conception! Using a calendar to keep track of the menstrual cycle and figuring out when the ‘fertile window is’ -the period of time in which the woman is able to get pregnant- is a great way to understand and predict ovulation; ovulation often occurs around day 14 of a 28-day cycle. Similarly using phone apps and fertility monitors offer up alternatives to the more manual methods of ovulation prediction.

Ovulation predictors rely on information from the hormone system of the female body regarding the hormone LH- Luteinizing Hormone. This hormone plays a crucial role in the process of conception as a rise in LH triggers the release of a mature egg from the ovary. Ovulation predictors therefore look out for this surge in LH as an indicator of fertility. Women can use these Ovulation Prediction Kits (OPKs) easily at home and access them over-the-counter, but they come at a higher price. The accuracy they provide in analysing the hormone of LH, however, is almost always highly accurate, at around 97% in major brands of OPKs.

Despite these levels of accuracy, there are, unfortunately, several circumstances in which an ovulation test kit is not accurate. Women who are approaching menopause have consistently high levels of LH, and thus make the results of OPKs invalid. Similarly having specific fertility related drugs in the system prevents OPKs from working reliably. In terms of the female herself, however, there are two main conditions that render OPKs are inaccurate: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS).

For those with LUFS, the egg matures inside the ovary but is never released, and as OPKs can’t confirm whether an egg has actually ovulated, it reduces the accuracy. For women that have been diagnosed with the condition of PCOS, they will have experienced symptoms that are due to the imbalance of male and female hormones- there are often a rise of facial body hair and adult acne, as well as irregular periods. These irregular periods can cause problems conceiving, but it is the small and more importantly false, peaks in LH that make many women attempt conception before the actual, real rise in LH occurs.

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