Ovulation predictors come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from urine-based ovulation tests to high-end electronic fertility monitors. Here, we provide a brief overview of a number of these methods and compare them to the OvaCue Fertility Monitor.
OvaCue Fertility Monitor vs. Transvaginal Ultrasound
Transvaginal ultrasounds allow physicians to see your ovaries, measure the size of your follicles, identify when the dominant follicle is selected, and see when the egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube. This procedure is the most accurate way to pinpoint your most fertile days, but it is neither convenient nor economically feasible. Read a detailed analysis of how the OvaCue stands up against the transvaginal ultrasound.
Urine-based Electronic Fertility Monitors
Urine based monitors operate based on the detection of a pre-determined level of estrogen (E3G) in the urine, a viable but less accurate method for identifying fertility than the electrolyte method. The uLH positive signal used by these monitors is most often observed on the day before or the day of ovulation, offering less advance notice or accuracy than the Ovacue. These monitors also require a continued expense for test sticks and you must deal with the inconvenience of testing urine. Read a detailed comparison of OvaCue and urine-based monitors.
The OvWatch measures changes in perspiration and requires the user to attach a sticky patch to their skin and wear a watch every day, except during times of possible accumulation of moisture on the skin, such as during periods of exercise, heat, or humidity. Unfortunately, there are more than 400 medical conditions which can cause perspiration, including common conditions such as anxiety, hypoglycemia, and hyperthyroidism. Further, there are a number of conditions which can cause perspiration that relate specifically to one’s fertility, such as perimenopause and polycystic ovarian syndrome. There are also a number medications that may increase perspiration or alter its composition. OvWatch does not work for women with irregular cycles or women taking ovulation-inducing medications. There are monthly costs for the patches you must continually buy. Read a detailed comparison of OvaCue and OVWatch.
Saliva microscopes operate on the principle that salivary characteristics can indicate the onset of ovulation. However, the accuracy of these products is dependent on the user's ability to interpret results which for many women are quite ambiguous. In addition, the process of collecting saliva itself can distort the results. While ferning scopes may be helpful in predicting ovulation, they cannot approach the accuracy, convenience or comprehensive readings offered by the OvaCue Fertility Monitor.
Urine LH Sticks
After LH has peaked in the blood, it eventually makes its way into the urine where it can be measured by a urine-based ovulation test, such as the type sold at your local drugstore. The problem is that by the time LH makes it to the urine in sufficient quantities to be measured by an over the counter test, it may be too late for sperm to be deposited in time to reach the egg while it is still viable. This method provides insufficient advance notice of ovulation, requires frequent urine testing (often twice per day), can be influenced by other factors such as urine dilution, and relies upon subjective evaluation of the color intensity of the test line in comparison to the control line. Finally, in the OvaCue Fertility Monitor’s Phase II study using urine LH tests, a positive reading was not reached at all in 24% of the cycles tested.
Basal Body Temperature
While often a helpful strategy, measuring basal body temperature (BBT) is used only to retroactively confirm that ovulation has occurred; by the time ovulation has been confirmed, it is too late for conception to occur in that cycle. At best, you can establish a pattern to your cycles and hope to guess correctly next month.
Fertility Monitor Comparison Summary
|Ovulation Comparison Table ||OvaCue || |
|OV Watch ||Ferning Scopes ||Home Urine LH Kit ||BBT|
|Advance Notice of Ovulation ||5-7 days ||1-5 days A ||1-4 days ||4-5 days ||0-24 hours ||No|
|Defines Complete Window of Fertility B ||YesE ||No ||No ||No ||No ||No|
|Accuracy ||98.3% ||73% A ||66% ||Based on user ||94% C ||74%|
|Confirms Ovulation ||YesE ||No ||No ||No ||No ||Yes|
A. Source: Unipath ClearBlue Easy Physician's manual, page 23.
B. Defined as a six-day period ending on the day of ovulation. (Ref: Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation. Wilcox AL et al. N Engl J Med 1995; 333(23): 1517-1521.)
C. Source: Unipath ClearBlue literature
D. Assuming 12 months of use
E. With optional vaginal sensor