Ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) can be a helpful and relatively cheap way to monitor your fertility and boost your chances at conception.
Should I take an ovulation test?
However, most ovulation predictor kits are not infallible, and there are positives and negatives to their usage. Ovulation kits are best used alongside other fertility trackers, like Ovia, to make sure you have the best shot at conception.
How they work
Ovulation is triggered by a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) about 24-36 hours prior to ovulation. OPKs search for the presence of LH in the urine, allowing you to fairly accurately identify the day of ovulation. They range in price from $5-$50, and come in both digital and simple pee-on-a stick forms.
There are many benefits to using an ovulation kit, including convenience, availability, and precision. The kits can be purchased in most drug stores, are only used a few times during a cycle instead of everyday, and are simple to use. In comparison to other methods of monitoring ovulation, ovulation kits are generally considered to be more precise, because they are over 97 percent effective in detecting an LH surge.
On the other hand, OPKs cannot confirm whether or not you’ve actually ovulated and can be far more expensive than other methods, like cervical fluid, basal body temperature, or Ovia(!). The kits often don’t work when fertility drugs are in your system, or on women over 40 who have increased LH levels due to proximity to menopause. Most importantly, ovulation predictor kits only test LH, leaving other important symptoms such as cervical fluid untested, which means that ovulation tests can only tell you about two of the six total fertile window days.
- Miller PB, Soules MR. “The usefulness of a urinary LH kit for ovulation prediction during menstrual cycles of normal women.” Obstetrics & Gynecology. 87(1):13-7. Web. Jan-96.
- Roger W. Harms, M.D. “Should I look for any particular ovulation signs if I’m hoping to conceive?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 2/13/2014. Web.