LH Ovulation Tests FAQ-what does it mean if I do not detect an LH surge ?

Ovulation test strips LH surge
Detecting LH surge with ovulation test strips

This is a fairly common question and one that causes quite a lot of anxiety, as not ovulating is a fairly common cause of infertility. However although this is one explanation,there are other possible reasons why you may not detect the LH surge with your ovulation tests.

  • The LH surge may have occurred before you started testing and you therefore missed it
  • The LH surge may have occurred after you stopped testing and you may have missed it.
  • The urine that you tested may have been too dilute, meaning that the concentration of LH in the sample was not sufficient, to give a positive LH test. Make sure you restrict your fluid intake for about 2 hours before you take the test.
  • You may have missed the LH surge because you tested at the wrong time of day. This is not uncommon. LH levels are low first thing in the morning and so if you test at this time, you may miss the LH surge. LH levels are usually highest at early to mid afternoon , so this is the best time to collect your urine for LH testing. Knowing the right time to test can be more tricky for shift workers, as their circadian rhythms are disrupted so they may also miss their LH surge.
  • LH surge may not be strong enough to be detected by the LH test. Most LH tests detect 40mIU/ml of Lh in the urine. It may be worth trying an ultra sensitive LH ovulation test that detects a lower level i.e. 20mIU/ml.
  • Insufficient urine may have been absorbed by the LH ovulation test. if this was the case then there would be no control line visible on the test. It is important to check that the control line is visible. if it is not it means the test has not run and so the result is invalid. If this happens it is worth quickly dipping the test into the urine sample again for a few seconds as it may still work. Do not delay doing this or the result will be invalid because too much time has elapsed.
  • The LH test could in fact be faulty, out of date or been incorrectly stored. Although this is quite uncommon, it can happen. To avoid this problem always buy from a reputable supplier.
  • You may be testing at the wrong time of your cycle. For women who have irregular periods, knowing when to test can be very difficult.
  • You may not have used the test correctly. Make sure that you read the instructions carefully before starting the test and use a timer.
  • You may not be going to ovulate this month. This may just be a one off, but if it happens repeatedly you should see your doctor, as it may mean that you are not ovulating and need further investigations.
  • You may already be pregnant. There is always a small possibility that you may already be pregnant. If your last period was different to usual, or very light it may be worth doing a pregnancy test.

To see more answers to FAQ’s regarding ovulation tests visit Access Diagnostics UK Fertility site 

Ovulation tests are available to purchase online from Access Diagnostics

FAQ Ovulation-How do I know if I’m Ovulating ?

This is a common question regarding ovulation.

Symptoms & Signs of Ovulation

Some lucky women are able to tell when they are ovulating by changes in their body and this makes life much easier for them when they are trying to conceive.

The easiest one to spot is the changes in the cervical mucus, which becomes stringy and slippery and is often described as resembling raw egg whites at ovulation time.

‘Ovulation pain’ is also reported by some women but is not a very reliable method of timing intercourse as other abdominal pains can be confused with that of ovulation.

Another sign that can be useful is an increased libido at your fertile time. This is natures way of encouraging you to have intercourse at the best time for conception, but again this is fairly non specific and some women do not experience this.

If you do not experience these changes around the time of ovulation do not worry, many women do not notice these changes and it does not mean that there is anything wrong or that you will not be able to know when you are ovulating.

There are a huge range of ovulation tests  & ovulation predictors that can help you to know when you are ovulating.

You can find out more about ovulation tests from Access Diagnostics Fertility  

When is ovulation ?

ovulation tests-ovulation test kit
Ovulation test strips

Knowing when ovulation means that you know when your fertile time of the month is. The fertilisation window each month is actually quite small for women. If you are going to conceive, it is within 24 hours after ovulation.

Ovulation usually occurs approximately 14 days before your period is due ie the 2nd stage of the menstrual cycle (the luteal phase) is usually 14 days long. This is fixed for most women although it can vary between 11-16 days for some. The part of the cycle that more often varies is the first half ie the run up to ovulation or the follicular phase.

If your follicular phase is the same each month this makes knowing when ovulation occurs very easy and predictable using a calender. The problem occurs when the folicular phase of your cycle is erratic or unpredictable. Irregularity of the pre-ovulation phase are more common in young women under 25 years & in older women (over 40 years) often being shorter or longer and less predictable.

For some women the follicular phase can be very prolonged for example in polycystic ovarian syndrome or the cycle may be anovulatory (ie ovulation does not occur)

If the cycle is irregular ovulation predictor kits can be helpful if you are trying to conceive.

FAQ-What exactly is ovulation & how do urine LH ovulation tests work ?

Ovulation test strips UK
Ovulation test strips

Thought it may be helpful to some readers to run over the basics of ovulation and when the most fertilie time occurs.

Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovary. The egg then passes into the fallopian tube where it is ready to be fertilised. In order for pregnancy to occur, the egg must be fertilized by sperm within 24 hours after its release.

Immediately prior to ovulation , the body produces a large amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) ,which triggers the release of the ripe egg from the ovary.

This LH surge usuallly takes place in the middle of the menstrual cycle.

Ovulation Prediction Tests help you to predict the time of ovulation & therefore peak fertility.

It is during this fertile time that pregnancy is most likely to occur.

The ovulation prediction test detects the LH surge in urine, signalling that ovulation is likely to occur in the next 24-36 hours

Click here to for more info on home urine ovulation tests (LH tests)

Calculating ovulation-FAQ-when exactly is my ovulation ?

 Here is a question about ovulation that we received today that is frequently asked

”Good day , pls i have been trying to conceive since January this year but I don’t know if I am not calculating my ovulation well.  I saw my july period on 13th and august on 11th, pls when exactly is my ovulation day again, thanks. Reply soon pls.

My first child is 2yrs now 

NN (Mrs) ”   17/8/11

Here is our answer:

Ovulation usually occurs in most fertile women 12-14 days before the period starts.If your cycle is regular (ie similar length each month) it is fairly easy to predict when you will ovulate This means that if you are on a 28-29 day menstrual cycle then ovulation will occur around day 14-15 (the 1st day of your period is day 1 of your cycle)This is not an exact science however so you should also look for other signs of ovulation such as changes in your cervical mucus (the stringy watery vaginal discharge that occurs at ovulation)

Check out this article about this http://uk-fertility.co.uk/index.php/2008/11/04/signs-of-ovulation/

Here is an online ovulation calculator that you may find helpfulhttp://www.babycentre.co.uk/tools/ovu/ If your cycle is irregular it can make predicting ovulation much trickier, and you may need to consider other methods some as basal temperature monitoring or ovulatin predictors.You may find this article helpful http://uk-fertility.co.uk/index.php/2010/04/12/ovulation-predictor-tests-and-methods/

Hope this information is helpful to you. Do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance. To see more frequently asked questions about ovulation and ovulation prediction visit Access Diagnostics Fertility site


5 simple things you can change that may increase your chances of conceiving

Its funny how often the simple changes can bring the biggest rewards.

1) Make sure you have sex at your most fertile time .

Now this is not to say that you should only have sex at your fertile time, in fact there is lots of evidence to show the opposite. To keep the sperm supply at its best, you should have regular sex throughout the month but it is pretty crucial that you have intercourse during your fertile time (around ovulation)

How do you know when its your fertile time ? That the subject of a whole other blog post on ovulation predictor tests & methods

2) Replace your usual personal lubricant with a sperm friendly lubricant

These days many couples use intimate lubricants either for foreplay, intercourse or both. Many intimate lubricants (including saliva) in common useage are not sperm friendly ie this means the lubricant can actually impair or damage sperm-not good news when you are trying to conceive.

In the UK there are currently 3 personal lubricants on the market that have been designed especially for couples trying to conceive and are clinically proven to be sperm friendly. They are Pre-Seed, Conceive Plus and Zestica Fertility.

To find out more about fertility friendly personal lubricants click here

3) Stop your man using his laptop on his lap

It is amazing how many men spend most evenings with a laptop on their laps while watching television or travelling on a train. Laptops heat up very quickly and generate large amounts of heat that can be detrimental to sperm. The testicles, which is where the sperm are produced and stored, are outside the body because if they were inside the body the heat from the body cavity would impair & damage the sperm. When a man has a laptop on his lap it is right over his testicles and this is likely to cause overheating.

I recently came a cross a couple where the man’s sperm count had come back with a low motility count, and he was using a laptop on his lap for extended periods most nights. He changed this laptop behaviour & the sperm count and motility has improved.

4) Keep your weight at a healthy level.

There has long been  anecdotal eveidence to suggest that weight is important but now this has been backed up by clinical evidence to suggest that fertility is reduced in both overweight women & underweight women.

5) Relax-

I know its easier said than done, but more and more studies are confirming that stress can be a big factor in unexplained infertility. Sometimes the stress of trying to conceive itself can actually hamper your attempts.

Look at other areas of stress in your life and see if you can reduce or alleviate them. Consider alternative therapies which are often excellent at helping to alleviate or manage stress. Yoga and Pilates for example are great at teaching you to relax. Make a list of things that you can do to help you relax each day and make sure you do one of them each day. It can be as simple as taking a lovely bubble bath or taking a walk outside in the sunshine. You know the things that help you to relax-so make time to do them

Ovulation predictor tests and methods

Ovulation predictor methods are many, and need not be expensive or complex for anyone with a regular cycle

Considering the last 14 days of a menstrual cycle is fixed in most women , ovulation will occur on day 14 in a 28 day cycle and day 18 in a 32 day cycle. Great if you one of the lucky ones who has  a very regular cycle, that is the same length each month.

For the rest of us with more erratic cycles the reliable prediction of the timing for ovulation gets a little more complex, so here is a breakdown of the common methods of ovulation prediction:

Cervical mucous becomes more stringy and will form ribons when opposed fingers are extended. This method is great until you have had sex in the preceeding 24 hrs and mix sperm into the equation !

BBT or basal body temperature measurment, basically get an accurate thermometer are record your temperature at a set time every morning before doing anything else. Detects a rise of 0.3 degrees centigrade at ovulation. Contrary to popular misconception you do not need a 4 decimel place thermometer and it does not have to be farenheit. What you do need is a regular regime and set waking time, so its out of the question for shift workers or the less well organised of you out there who’s days wont give up the 2 minutes you have to lie in bed with a stick in your mouth.

Urine ovulation predictors. Dip test you dip in wee and tell you when you have a surge in the hormone which makes you ovulate. Expect to use 7-10 per month especially if you are irregular or have a long cycle. Buy dip ovulation test strips as they are just as accurate as digital or mid stream test and a lot cheaperas well as being more eco-friendly (less packaging) . Only go for the very low level, higher sensitivity ovulation tests if you do not get positive results with the standard sensitivity tests. Stick with a brand if it works (there are multiple sensivities on sale and comparing results is not possible) These tests give 24-36 hrs advance notice of ovulation.

Ovulation predictor miscroscopes are simple mini microscopes which show the crystal of salt which form in drying saliva when oestrogen levels are high which occur with ovulation. Can be used time and time again, so are cheap & eco-friendly if you end up testing for a long time. Look for models with replacable batteries. Don’t expect to see anything for the rest of the cycle, it takes 2-3 cycles to get confident in using these, so best to start off using while also using another method. They are 99% accurate when combined with BBT. Can also be used in dogs and cats, so popular with pet breaders, no reason why they could not be used in pigs, horses and cattle for insemination assessment, so come on you farmers !

Ovulation predictor didn’t work ~ Don’t panic  99% is just that, but not every cycle is ovulatory either, so re-try next month. If you get no positive indicators over 3 consecutive cycles change to another method or seek advice from your doctor. Up to 1 in 4 cycles can miss ovulation, and this increases with age and is a normal physiological finding.

Click here for more info on using ovulation predictors

Ovulation Kits-which are the best for me ?

I decided to write about ovulation kits today. There is such a huge choice of ovulation kits available now, that it can be quite confusing which one to go for.

What are ovulation test kits ?

They all work by testing urine for the presence of Luteinising Hormone (LH). LH is the hormone that is released just prior to ovulation and the ovulation test kits detect the LH surge.

This is great because it gives you prior warning of when you are going to ovulate. Research has shown that if you have intercourse just prior to ovulation the sperm are waiting for the egg and that this can increase the chances of conception. This also gives you opportunity to have intercourse on the 3-4 most fertile days of your cycle which again increases the chances of conceiving.

Urine LH test kits are not to be confused with other ovulation detectors that tell you that you have ovulated but do not give you prior notice (ie basal temperature monitoring and saliva ovulation microscopes)

What types of ovulation kits are there ?

There are 3 basics types of urine ovulation kit. They are midstream ovulation kits, cassette ovulation test kits, and ovulation test strips.

The midstream ovulation test kit is the most expensive type of kit. In a midstream ovulation test kit the strip is enclosed in a plastic casing and the user urinates directly on to ovulation tester.Advantages of the midstream test kits are that they are discreet. You do not need to collect a urine sample and they can be performed easily (by most women) in any toilet. Only fiddly bit for some can be directing the urine stream onto the tester without getting splashed with urine (I speak from experience-lol)

The urine is then absorbed by the test strip encased in the sampler and the result read after several minutes. Most tests are interpreted using the appearnace of two lines, except the digital ovulation test kits which give a definite yesy you have ovulated rather than two lines for you to interpret.

 Ovulation Test Cassette Kits are a mid price test. They are more complicated to use than the ovulation midstream or ovulation test strips, however there is less likelyhood of user error performing the test as you use a pipette to add exactly the correct quantitiy of urine. They are very popular with research labs or clinics performing multiple tests as they are highly accurate and give consistent results.

Ovulation Test Stips are the cheapest type of ovulation kits and for some the simplest. You simply dip the test strip into a fresh urine sample, and read the result, after the set time, by interpreting the appearance or not of two lines on the test strip.

Advantages to this type of ovulation test kit is that they are much cheaper to manufacture and therefore much cheaper to buy, although usually just as accurate. Disadvantages are that they require you to collect a urine sample into a container. If you are at work or out and about this is going to be trickier unless you have a very big handbag. If you are testing at work it may be simpler to use a midstream ovulation test kit !

My top tips for performing urine ovulation test kits

1) Always make sure you read the instruction for the ovulation test kit that you are using, before performing the test, as they do vary from test to test, and the time at which you read the result is of significance.

2) Use a timer if possible so you read the test at the correct time. This could be trickier if you are doing it in the toilet at work ! Some of those timers are very loud-lol

3) As you will be performing the ovulation tests over several days, try to perform the ovulation test at the same time each day

4) I have found that it is best not to have a drink for 2 hours before I perform a LH test

5) make sure the place you are performing the test is well lit-this helps in two ways-you can see what you are doing so the likelyhood of getting urine all over the floor or all over you is reduced, and it makes interpreting the test much easier if you can see it properly.

6) If you are testing over several months, it may be worth trying different type or brand of ovulation test kits each month until you find the one that suits your needs & your budget the best.

Other Signs Of Ovulation-Basal Body Temperature Rises-BBT

How to take your Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

1. Taking Your BBT Temperature

Your Basal Body Temperature is probably best taken orally (simplest in my opinion ), by placing the thermometer under your tongue. BBT temperature refers to a ‘resting’ or ‘base’ temperature. That means that your BBT must be measured before activity, after at least four hours of sleep. Take your BBT temperature first thing each morning (ideally at the same time each morning) – as soon as you wake up and before you get out of bed or have a cup of tea! Other things such as hot drinks, infections, illness etc can affect your BBT reading.

2. Charting Your BBT Temperature
Starting on day one of your menstrual cycle – the first day of your period – begin recording your BBT temperature using graph paper. Each morning, record your temperature. Plot each day’s BBT on the a graph. Your temperature rise may be sudden, gradual, or in steps. The pattern may vary from cycle to cycle.

3. Predicting Ovulation
Typically a rise of at least 0.4 to 0.6 degrees centigrade or  will take place at ovulation, though for different women the temperature increases may be sudden or gradual. Over time, charting you BBT will help you predict ovulation.

It is important to remember that the rise in your BBT (basal body temperature) does not tell you when you are most fertile or about to ovulate. It tells you when you already have ovulated. Women are most fertile in the few days before their peak temperature.

Click here to see Digital Thermometers suitable for BBT

Signs of Ovulation-Cervical Mucus Changes

I think I’m  ovulating -how can I tell ?

Cervical mucus is clear, sticky & kind of stringy just before ovulation-this is called Spinbarkeit mucus (I think-I will check spelling later) and signifies the most fertile time of the cycle. This slippery  stretchy cervical mucus resembles uncooked egg whites.

It is this clear, wet & stringy ‘egg-white type’ cervical  mucus, which helps the sperm move freely from the vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus in search of an newly released egg. This is the most fertile time in a woman’s cycle.

p.s I looked it up online and it looks like this fertile cervical mucus is called Spinbarkeit mucus although I found a couple of different spellings-not sure which was in right.

What brands of ovulation microscope are available in UK, and what are the differences ?

Ovatel Ovulation Microscope

Ovatel is a simply designed plastic saliva ovulation detector microscope that requires no batteries, with 54x magnification .
Ovatel uses natural back light for viewing. The Ovatel ovulation microscope is 98% accurate.

Calista Ovulation Microscope

The Calista saliva ovulation microscope is 98% accurate. Each Calista is supplied with batteries.

Calista Ovulation Microscope has a  powerful 67X magnification lens.

Babystart Focus Ovulation Microscope

The Babystart Focus ovulation microscope is 98% accurate. Each babystart Focus Ovulation Microscope is supplied batteries.

Babystart Focus looks just like a quality metal case lipstick.

Babystart Focus Ovulation Microscope has a  50X magnification lens.

Donna Saliva Ovulation Microscope

The Donna Saliva Ovulation Microscope is 98% accurate.

The Donnna ovulation microscope has a 68X Power Magnification lens

ISIS Ovulation Microscope

The ISIS ovulation microscope is 99% accurate. Auto on/off light function via a photo electric cell in the barrel

Easy to change batteries. 60x lens magnification.  Quality metal/enamel case that looks just like lipstick.

Click here to see all these ovulation microscopes and for more info