To increase the effectiveness of ovulation tests, it's best to begin testing around day 11 of your menstrual cycle, or roughly 11 days after starting your period. Some women use online ovulation calculators to keep close track of their menstrual cycles [source: WomensHealth.gov].
Why test a few days before you expect to ovulate?
Since eggs typically survive for 24 hours or so after they're released, couples should prepare in advance for ovulation rather than miss this window of opportunity. Since a man's sperm can survive for up to 72 hours inside a woman -- almost 48 hours longer than an egg, having intercourse in the days before a woman expects to ovulate can bolster a couple's chances of conceiving.
It's also important to keep in mind that each test is different. Some look like popsicle sticks with simple symbols while others present results in a digital window. Thoroughly read the test's instructions before beginning.
In addition, make sure to understand the length of time you should expose the test to urine and how long you should wait before interpreting the results. It also helps to conduct tests at the same time of day for consistency and avoid diluting your urine by consuming large amounts of water.
Most ovulation tests include at least seven tests. Though prices vary, the average test costs between $10 and $20. Companies sell digital ovulation tests, which tend to be more expensive. Either way, most tests get the job done.
If you're uncomfortable urinating directly on a test, consider urinating into a single-use disposable cup (sold separately) and dipping the test in.
For more information on ovulation tests, head over to the next page.
Learn more about ovulation in "The Ultimate Getting Pregnant Fast Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Optimize Ovulation and Get Pregnant Faster" by Kristina Duclos. HowStuffWorks picks related titles based on books we think you'll like. Should you choose to buy one, we'll receive a portion of the sale.
- American Pregnancy Association. "Ovulation Kits and Fertility Monitors." March 2005. (March 10, 2011).http://www.americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/ovulationkits.html
- Mayo Clinic Staff. "Infertility." MayoClinic.com. June 27, 2009. (March 10, 2011).http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infertility/DS00310/DSECTION=causes
- MedlinePlus. "LH Urine Test (Home Test)." Feb. 28, 2011. (March 8, 2011).http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007062.htm
- MedlinePlus. "Menstruation." March 2, 2011. (March 9, 2011).http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/menstruation.html
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. "Ovulation (Saliva Test)." March 17, 2010. (March 9, 2011).http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/InVitroDiagnostics/HomeUseTests/ucm126061.htm
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. "Ovulation (Urine Test)." March 17, 2010. (March 9, 2011).http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/InVitroDiagnostics/HomeUseTests/ucm126065.htm
- WomensHealth.gov. "Menstruation and the Menstrual Cycle." Oct. 21, 2009. (March 9, 2011).http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/menstruation.cfm
- WomensHealth.gov. "Ovulation and Due Date Calculator." Sept. 27, 2010. (March 9, 2011).http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/mom-to-be-tools/ovulation-due-date-calc.cfm