Infertility posts, TTC/TTC Technology Posts

Ovulation Tests – the POAS variety

If having lots of randomised sex isn’t working for you, there is a plethora of bewildering things on sale out there to pinpoint your ovulation all involving things you pee on.

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As you know, you don’t need to be having sex every day for the month to make a baby– pinpointing the 5 days of high fertility and then maybe boffing for good luck on the days around it is often the best way for us busy (and increasingly tired) people to make a baby.

The annoying thing about many of these products is that they will only detect the surge. They won’t predict if you have ovulated. So always temp and monitor CM alongside them if you are focusing on your fertile window. This way you can be sure you had a genuine surge and not a ‘fake’ surge and can finally stop having sex.

Did I just say that out loud.

Here is my totally biased opinion on many of these products by company:

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Clearblue

Clearblue have a whole range of tests for pin pointing ovulation which all feature the same annoying grinning naked baby (it’s ironic how much that baby puts me off the act of making one). Unlike other fertility tests, some of their products use the technique of measuring  LH

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hormone and also rising estrogen levels in the body. This, if you’re like me and have the quickest and shortest of surges (especially if they happen overnight) is very useful and usually means you’ll pick things up quickly and easily without squinting at lines in the loos at work (yes I have done this).

As a company I have found Clearblue to be mainly reliable and helpful when it comes to ovulation products (less so on pregnancy tests). When I have had an issue with sticks they were sent for testing and Clearblue even sent me several new sticks to replace the broken one #impressed. Not only that, but their YouTube instruction videos are pretty good too. And funny.

They have three main products from their simple POAS variety to the fancy fertility monitor which needs an initial outlay on top of the actual testing sticks.

Reminder – Like all of these things, the environmental impact using all of these items is pretty steep and they will impact on your wallet over time.

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Clearblue ovulation test – packs of 10 or 20 (£18.00 – £30.00)

Good for – the lack of line squinting. Is that line the same colour as the other one vs Smiley face = Go!  Plus as with all Clearblue products you have a neat little cap you can plonk on top of the wee bit which makes it all very nice and clean and pretty.

Bad for – well, it’s just an expensive version of a cheapie you can get in Poundland. But on the other hand, it does the work for you. No more ‘is that second line dark enough’ squinting under the bathroom light. Plus if you know roughly when you ovulate you’re not constantly dunking strips into wee – it’s a much more civilised way of doing it.

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Clearblue ovulation tests with dual hormone indicator – – packs 10 or 20 (£20 – £35.00)

Good for – if you have long surges, periods which are irregular or you tend to surge at night (yes ma’am) these are super. Giving you the option of an empty smiley (not fertile), a flashing smiley (in the fertile window) or a solid smiley (go!) they are easy to read.

Bad for –your wallet.  At £30 a pop they are pricey and if you have a super long cycle or are really irregular you could be using a pack a month. They also insist on FMU which can mean you’ll miss your surge as estrogen may be high in the morning but most people’s LH occurs in the afternoon or evening.

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Clearblue Advanced Fertility Monitor – (£70 – £100, Test sticks £15 – £30)

With a swanky touch screen this monitor will also tell you if you’re pregnant by asking you to test on the day or your due period using the included test sticks. It also allegedly ‘learns’ your cycle and gives you a reading of low, high and peak fertility. It has a nice little discreet and ergonomic white pearl box and it’s pretty easy to set up and use.

Good for – irregular cycles, tech fans and a no brainer. POAS, shove it in, have sex or don’t

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Bad for – First off most of us don’t have the time or luxury for something that needs to ‘learn our cycle’ over a few months. When you’ve spent a combined £100-120 on this bad boy, you kind of want it to work first time. So it’s with great frustration that many people (me included) found that they had all highs and no peaks for the first few cycles – in my case this included one cycle where I got pregnant so….I know I peaked there!

Clearblue used to have a much simpler monitor before they bought out the advanced which worked like a charm and wasn’t touch screen that always gave me peaks in the right place from the first time using it. Stupidly when upgrading I thought this one would be better and it was a salutary lesson that expensive isn’t always better! So be prepared to spend out for a few cycles which will give you the highs but not necessarily the peaks.  If you’re irregular this is going to be a bit of a pain and most of us don’t have the time or money to spend out a few months before we start trying. Not to mention 10 days of highs is a lot of sex you may not have the energy or time for and burn out can set in!

The pregnancy test isn’t very sensitive so if you’re happy to wait for the day before your due period it’s a great tool.

The touch screen isn’t really what we think of as a ‘touch screen’. It’s clunky and you have to prod it a lot! Not to mention, using it in the bathroom can be stressful.

TOP TIP – you can get all of these products on Ebay for a much cheaper amount than you can on the high street so plan ahead. I bought my old monitor and my new one (and sold them on again!) on Ebay and they worked just fine. Remember, you pee on the stick, not the machine!

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Poundland/B&M/internet Strips – 4 for £1

At 4 for £1 why would you ever buy anything else. Poundland have always been my go to for ovulation strips. The technique is simple.

You’ll need a portable pee cup but hold your wee for as long as you can (3-4 hours is best), wee in said cup and dunk the strip in for the specified amount of time (usually 10-15 seconds). Watch as the dye leaks up and then lay it down flat and read after 5-10 minutes. Have sex as soon as you get that positive and carry on for a few days if you can past your temp rise.

Good for – While they’re not very sensitive and I think the dye is negotiable in them, they do give you a good idea of what is going on pre and post ovulation and only cost 25p each which is frankly a bargain compared to the big brand versions.

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They are also the best for those with PCOS as you’re not breaking the bank with having loads of positives. Just remember to always temp alongside them if you do have PCOS. You can be getting lots of the surges but not actually ovulating a miss the window….

Bad for – I personally find I need to do 3 of these a day to get any kind of decent result and once or twice have had the surge occur at night (so it’s been getting there around 8pm and then is all but gone the next day). Holding it all in for 4 hours can be a pretty traumatic experience and as usual you can only confirm ovulation by temps.

Discretion isn’t that easy when you you’re trying to pee in cups at work or in a public place and then sit in the loo for 10 minutes. Be prepare for wee on your hand and a tricky to dip little stick.

But I’ll say it again….25p a strip….

Boots and Superdrug do similar tests ranging from £3 – £5 but don’t be tempted by a smarter brand name. They’re the same test.

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First Response

While Clearblue seem to rule the market on ovulation tests, First Response aren’t far behind. While popular in the USA, they have struggled to catch up in the UK so these tests can be hard to come by.

Again, I like FRER and their early pregnancy test is brilliant- although steer clear of the curved Frer  and their evap lines – luckily they are hard to come by in the UK.

They have two types of test, one digital and one simply lines. Both work on the same premise as the Clearblue standard tests and £1 cheapies in that they test for LH and then give you an optimal 2 days to get busy.

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Daily Digital Ovulation Test – £25.00 – £30.00 for 20 on Amazon

This test is just as good as the Clearblue one. Simply POAS and it will tell you if you’re ready to go (Yes) or not (No).

Good for – I won’t repeat myself – see the Clearblue response on digital tests. I can’t comment on the usability as I haven’t been able to get hold of one of them yet.

Bad for – hard to get in the UK or Europe and slightly more expensive than other brands.

Ovulation Plus Test – £20 – £25.00 7 and one pregnancy test

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Not a bad deal when you consider a pregnancy test is usually around the £6 – 9 mark.

Good for – well, all of the above really.

Bad for – as with most tests you may need to do more than 7 if you have an irregular cycle so no good for us disorganised women. Also you are back to line squinting I’m afraid so you may as well do this with a cheapie test.

Others

Boots do a good ovulation test selection (although that bloody baby is back). From Strips to Hand held plastic tests they are basic versions of the brand versions and range from £9.99 – £30.00.

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Superdrug also have a range from £9.99 – £30.00 while the supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s do their own versions. All are pretty similar.

Basically find a product that works for you. If you have the money then go with the Clearblue ovulation tests with dual hormone indicator. It’s easy, you can test more than once a day if you wish and you don’t have to worry about selling a monitor on afterwards.

If you’re a bit more strapped for cash go for the cheap strips from Pooundland or B&M. They do exactly what all of the branded tests do, they just come in less pretty packaging.

Don’t fancy holding for 4 hours? See our page of non POAS ovulation tests and devices on our tech page!

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