If a couple is experiencing difficulties conceiving a child, there are various infertility tests that may help determine any underlying medical conditions. A couple can only conceive a child when ovulation takes place. Ovulation occurs when the female body releases an egg from an ovary. To ovulate, the body must experience a complex interaction of various hormones. There is a blood test that can determine if a female has ovulated, along with several over-the-counter urine ovulation tests.
What an Ovulation Test Measures
During an ovulation test, the luteinizing hormone, or LH, is measured. This hormone is responsible for egg development. When the body is ovulating, LH levels increase to trigger the release of an egg. LH levels increase the day after ovulation and remain elevated for 12 to 16 days. This is because this hormone is necessary to create a fertile environment for conception. If LH levels remain elevated, the body may not know to release an egg. Consistently elevated LH levels are also an indicator of polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS.
Who Should Consider Ovulation Testing
If you are trying to conceive or are having difficulties getting pregnant, you may consider taking an ovulation test to help you understand if and when you are ovulating. These test can help you understand which days you are most fertile, and therefore offer you the highest percent chance of conceiving.
How Ovulation Testing Is Performed
A blood ovulation test is typically drawn on the third day of your menstrual cycle. The blood from this test is used to determine the levels of a variety of hormones. The results indicate whether an imbalance in hormone levels may affect your chances of ovulating or getting pregnant.
An over-the-counter urine ovulation kit tests measure the level of LH. To use urine tests correctly, begin by determining the average length of your menstrual cycle. Day one is the first day of your period and the last day is the day before your next period. On average, many women have a 28-day cycle, but the length of a cycle varies from woman to woman. From this point, you need to subtract 17 from the total number of days of your average period cycle. For most women, this equals 11. This is the day you begin to use the urine ovulation test kit. It is recommended that you continue testing daily until you receive a positive test result.
With a blood ovulation test, if the test comes back levels 20nmol/L or greater of progesterone, then ovulation has occurred. With an over-the-counter urine ovulation kit, ovulation occurs within 24 to 36 hours of a positive test.
If a woman fails to have a positive ovulation test, a physician may prescribe an array of diagnostic test or medication to assist with reproduction. There are various prescription medications available that can help trigger or regulate ovulation hormones.