If you’re trying to get pregnant, especially if you have some health concerns or have experienced difficulties conceiving, you’re going to want to do everything right to maximise your chances at a successful conception. One of the most important things you can do is learn when you’re going to ovulate. Ovulation is the keystone of your menstrual cycle, and you can only get pregnant is a tight window around ovulation, the time when your ovaries release a mature egg.
If you’re not trying to conceive specifically in five days before and single day after you ovulate, your chances of success are slim indeed. And if you have any health conditions that make ovulation irregular or rare – such as polycystic ovary syndrome – then targeting this key window can be difficult or impossible.
One of ways people try to get an edge over chance is to use ovulation predictor kits, often known as opks. These are not unlike pregnancy tests, in that test your urine for certain hormones to give you a result. The hormone these opks are looking for is the Luteinising Hormone that cues your ovaries to release an egg. It surges between 24 and 36 hours before ovulation, so detecting a spike in this hormone is a good indicator of when you are due to ovulate.
They can great a solution that lets you pinpoint when you ovulate and helps you get pregnant quickly and easily. Unfortunately they don’t work as well for everyone.
Image Source: Wikipedia
The thing that opks have in their favour is convenience. You can pick them up at most pharmacies and even supermarkets; you only need to use them in the middle of your cycle, so it’s not the month long commitment that other monitoring systems require; they’re non-technical and as easy to use as home pregnancy tests.
When they work they’re also accurate, achieving around 97% accurate predictions of ovulation, which is a great result.
Not For Everyone
Unfortunately, these conveniences apply equally to everyone. Everyone’s body is unique, and if you have a slightly different balance in your hormones it can through off an opks predictions. If you have a particularly high background level of LH then it may give you a false positive long before, or even after you ovulate, which defeats the object of targeting your efforts to conceive on this window.
If you have a long or irregular cycle it can be difficult to know when you need to start testing to get a result: if PCOS is delaying your cycle, you might test day after day and not get a result, or a string of false positives that don’t help you.
If opks don’t work for you, then there are alternatives available: monitoring your basal body temperature helps to identify the conditions in your body actually caused by ovulation, so if your hormones aren’t the right mix for a tester kit this could be a way forward for you.
There are more and more sophisticated technological solutions available that are far more advanced than simply taking your temperature recording on a chart, so looking into them could be a great place to start, but the most important thing is to talk to an expert, so make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible!