august 2023

How Do Ovulation Test Strips Work

Using ovulation test strips can help to improve your chances of becoming pregnant by informing you of when you are most fertile.

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A woman completes an ovulation test to see if she is fertile.
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Using ovulation test strips can help to improve your chances of becoming pregnant by informing you of when you are most fertile. They are easy to use and can be relatively inexpensive, which make them a valuable tool when you are trying to conceive (TTC).

Read on to find out exactly how they work, how to use them to predict your fertility, the best tips for improving their accuracy, and the pros and cons of using ovulation tests.

How do ovulation tests work?

Ovulation test strips, or ovulation predictor kits (OPK), are basically at-home urine tests that work by detecting when the levels of a hormone called luteinising hormone (LH) are over a certain threshold.

A surge of LH in your system triggers the release of an egg from one of your ovaries (ovulation). This means that, when LH is found in higher levels in your urine, you are close to ovulation and, therefore, potentially on the most fertile days of your cycle.

How do you use ovulation strips to predict fertility?

a woman tracks the days she is ovulating using an ovulation chart

Your most fertile days, known as your ‘fertile window’, are the days prior to and including ovulation, when you may notice that your cervical mucus has become more copious and similar to egg-white and you are feeling more sexual.

LH surges 24-36 hours before ovulation occurs and this surge is what an ovulation strip checks for to predict fertility. When the levels of LH in your urine are over a certain threshold, the ovulation stick will give you a positive result, meaning that you are nearing ovulation and are therefore potentially fertile.