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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

How do you use and ovulation prediction kit?

By on August 21, 2012

How to use an ovulation prediction kit?

Throughout history, people have exerted great effort to determine when a woman is most fertile.  Dating back to ancient times, people would look to lunar cycles and seasonal variations to gleam their best chances of conception.  In modern day Los Angeles, the same strong desire to know one’s fertility continues.  Fortunately, women who are trying to conceive now have many different tools to increase their chances.  One of the most effective and efficient tools is the ovulation prediction kit or OPK for short.

What is an ovulation prediction kit?

An ovulation prediction kit is an at-home device which a woman can use to detect the level of lutenizing hormone (LH) present in her urine.  LH is a hormone which is released by the anterior pituitary gland (in the brain).  On a daily basis, LH is always present as it helps to stimulate egg growth and has several other physiological functions.  Once a month, for a short period of time, the level of LH increases significantly. This increase is called the “LH surge” and it provides the signal for ovulation.  The OPK is used to detect the This LH surge. 

Timing

There are some important numbers to bear in mind when thinking about ovulation prediction kits.  First, the LH surge usually lasts about 48 hours.  Second, ovulation usually occurs within 24 to 48 hours from the beginning of the surge.  Third, because it can be hard to know exactly when the surge begins, ovulation usually occurs between 14 and 26 hours of detection of the surge (positive OPK). 

Based on this information, studies have shown that the single most fertile day for most women is the day after the surge is detected.   

Problems

While the principle behind using an OPK seems straightforward, in reality, it can be quite difficult.  If a woman’s urine is too dilute, the test can occasionally be negative even if a surge is occurring, this is called a false negative.  On the other hand, some women who produce a higher amount of LH on a daily basis, or women with very concentrated urine can have a positive test when they are not actually surging.  This is called a false positive. 

False tests can be minimized by beginning the testing early in a cycle, using the second morning urine to test and sometimes testing 2 times per day. 

Uses

At our practice at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, we use OPKs for several purposes.  These include, traditional fertility techniques such as timed intercourse for patients who have undergone tubal reversal surgery and intrauterine insemination as well as hi tech fertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and frozen embryo transfers (FET).    

At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology in Los Angeles California, we are a full service fertility practice.  We take pride in our individualized approach to patient care and are dedicated to explaining all aspects of treatment to our patients in simple clear and accurate terms.  If you have questions about ovulation prediction tests or fertility in general, please contact us, we’d be happy to speak with you. 

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