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Ovulation Testing

Ovulation testing can indicate infertility

If you don’t ovulate at all, or if you are ovulating infrequently, it can make it very hard to get pregnant. Almost all women who have regular menstrual periods every 26 to 35 days are ovulating. If you are not having regular, monthly periods, it can mean that ovulation isn’t happening at all, or is happening at unpredictable times. If you do have irregular cycles, ovulation testing kits usually don’t give accurate information, and you should go directly to see a board-certified fertility specialist at our South Texas fertility center to learn more about your testing and treatment options.

Regular menstrual cycles = normal ovulation (usually)

Knowing when ovulation occurs is important so you can time intercourse appropriately. Ovulation occurs approximately 14 days before your next period starts. This means that if your menstrual cycle comes every 28 days, you typically ovulate around cycle day 14.

But few women have an exact 28-day cycle. If you have a 30-day cycle, you typically ovulate around cycle day 16; and if you have a 32-day cycle, you ovulate around cycle day 18, and so on.

You ovulate the day after ovulation testing turns positive

The ovulation predictor kit (OPK) test shows when the brain is signaling to the ovary to release the egg. That signal starts in the bloodstream about 36 hours before ovulation, and shows up in the urine about 12 hours later. So, an OPK shows a peak level around 24 hours before ovulation.

If you are using OPKs to time intercourse, our South Texas fertility center recommends checking OPKs once daily, starting a few days before you think ovulation might occur (see above). When you get a positive, that means ovulation is happening tomorrow (exciting!), so the two best days to have intercourse will be that day and the following day, which is ovulation day.

Periods that start fewer than 10 days before, or more than 16 days after, a positive ovulation test should be evaluated

After ovulation, if there is no ongoing pregnancy, progesterone levels drop, which signals for the uterus and brain to start the next menstrual cycle. This usually happens 12 to 14 days after ovulation.

Women getting periods when they are not expecting them may have hormone imbalances that can be affecting progesterone production, or could be getting false positives on ovulation testing kits. Either way, if the timing of your cycle isn’t lining up, its best to have a fertility evaluation by a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist.

Contact our South Texas fertility center if you would like an evaluation or have questions about your ability to conceive. Our board-certified fertility experts are ready to help you figure out your cycle, order more advanced ovulation testing, and get you to a positive pregnancy test.