Home fertility kits now make it easy and convenient for you to tell when you are ovulating. One example is the ovulation predictor kit (OPK) that detects the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. LH generally rises a day or two before your ovulation period.
Why use the OPK?
The rise in LH triggers ovulation which is the most fertile time of your monthly female cycle. Using the OPK helps pinpoint increased LH, making it more accurate to tell when ovulation will occur. Women with normal cycles benefit most from OPKs.
It can get confusing when you still have your periods yet you don’t ovulate. If you are suffering from fertility issues, the OPK can help determine if you are ovulating at all.
Even doctors like Angie Beltsos of Fertility Centers in Illinois encourage the use of OPK because she finds it very helpful in detecting the specific days of ovulation. She admits it may not be a perfect test, but it does help women find out when it’s time to ovulate. Combined with fertility drugs, however, OPKs need to be used with care and proper direction from your health care specialist, says Dr. Beltsos.
How to use the OPK
First, know the best day to start testing, according to your monthly cycle. Second, reduce your liquid intake at least four hours before you administer the test. To ensure greater success, once you’ve started testing, make sure to repeat the test the following day at around the same time.
FSH test kits
Another type of fertility test measures your Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). High levels of FSH may affect female fertility. Thus, if you know or suspect that you are suffering from infertility, missed periods, or irregular ovulation, use an FSH test kit to help you detect high levels of FSH.
Why use an FSH test kit?
Infertility clinics commonly use FSH test kits to measure ovarian reserve or the female egg supply. If you experience menstrual problems, this type of fertility test can help you know if you are perimenopausal, menopausal, or having fertility issues that may be linked to other causes such as pituitary disorders involving the ovaries or the testes.
In other words, high levels of FSH may indicate poor ovarian reserves.
How to use the FSH test
Your doctor, not you, administers the FSH fertility test sometimes called the Day 3 FSH test, because it is done on the third day of your menstrual cycle. However, most doctors do not follow the Day 3 testing and believe it is okay to administer the test anytime between Days 2 to 4 of your cycle.
To conduct the test, your doctor will likely ask you to submit a blood sample, specifically on the third day of your menstrual cycle.
Male fertility kits
If you are undergoing a fertility test, it is important for your partner to get tested, as well. Yes, it may bring up some vulnerabilities for him. But what if male factor fertility is the main problem that prevents you from getting pregnant? According to research, about 20-30 percent of the time, it is. On the bright side, discovering male-related fertility issues early on can mean early treatment and prevention of unnecessary pain and expense on your part.
Sperm and semen analysis
Generally, men get tested through sperm and semen analysis. This kind of fertility test evaluates sperm count, shape, and movement, among others. According to experts, high sperm count does not necessarily mean high fertility. Many men have low sperm count or abnormal semen and yet they are fertile. At other times, some men may have normal sperm count and semen and yet they are infertile.
Conducting sperm and semen analysis
A urologist usually begins the test with a basic interview about lifestyle and full medical and reproductive history, followed by a physical exam, and a discussion about personal sexual activity. Next, the man needs to provide a fresh semen sample for analysis.
If the first test is normal, the doctor may ask for a second test to confirm results. If the second test is also normal, it usually means the absence of significant fertility problems. But if something looks irregular, the doctor may order more tests. Ironically, the absence of any sperm or semen (azoospermia) suggests a blockage rather than infertility. If this is the case, the problem can be easily corrected by surgery.