I should start this review with a disclaimer.
I love peeing on sticks. I really do. It’s weird (although some of you get it, right?) so for me this kit was great. You do need to pee on a lot of sticks with this kit…. I was sent a kit from Clearblue to try so try it I have.
Clearblue ovulation kits are set up to measure two hormones in your urine to determine when you are about to ovulate – your LH (Luteinising hormone) surge which occurs to trigger ovulation, usually within 24-48 hours and estrogen levels which also surge just before ovulation. They recommend using first morning urine (FMU) because the concentrations of hormones is strongest after a hold.
Many women have their surge later in the day so if you feel you need to test more than once; you can always test in the late afternoon as well with a ‘hold’ of 3-4 hours. I have always found it never pays to be stingy with these kinds of tests.
Rather cutely the stick connects to your phone via Bluetooth to an app and enters the results for you. You need to download the app before you start.
Clearblue (probably rightly) decided that the usual ‘is the second strip stronger than the control, oh I can’t quite see (cue much squinting)’ test isn’t the best method to measure if the LH surge is detected and have come up with the smiley face method.
No smiley face and you are not in your fertile window, flashing smiley face means you are in your fertile window and as soon as it goes solid the machine has detected the LH surge. It will stay solid for 48 hours. You cannot test again once you get the solid smiley for the rest of the month.
If you are trying for a baby, as soon as you see the flashy face the recommendation is Sex every other day and then when you get a solid go every day for 2-3 days if you can or every other day. If you’re temping you can confirm ovulation.
The kit is nice and small so easy for travel and storing. You use a new stick every day (this is not an eco option-I was a little shocked that the entire holder was disposed of when the provided sticks ran out) and the holder is small and easy to use (it is literally a click and go option with a small screen).
Ease of use
I did take 5 minutes to have a ‘go’ with the ‘control’ stick provided after downloading the app. The app will work out when the best time to test is depending on your cycle length (in my case on a 34 day cycle so I was instructed to start on dat 14) and you can set it to remind you on your phone the day or morning before.
I prefer to dip as opposed to use the ‘wee on’ method. I generally find it easier to use the dip method over the mid-stream method as you have more control over the whole process but if you are on the go then mid-stream is a good option to have.
You insert the stick into the machine before dipping and then you wait 5 minutes for the result. When the result comes up you simply ensure that the Bluetooth option is activated on your phone and open the app and it will synch to your phone.
I would have to say this was really easy once you have done it once or twice. This is one of those things where you do need to read the instructions carefully before you use it for the first time or if you’re coming back to it after a month’s cycle as it’s very easy to stuff it up and waste a stick.
I have always had a lot of time for Clearblue as a company (their customer service is impeccable and their products – aside from their infamous evap line blue dye tests – are great to use) and this product was a frilly version of their standard ovulation kit and a simpler version of their monitor (both of which I have used in the past). It is basic and assuming you don’t have PCOS and therefore numerous LH surges, a useful, easy and effective device to use.
I used this system alongside a few others (including an ultra sound confirming I had ovulated) to target my ovulation while trialling it, and it does seem to have worked well. If you are trying for babies, keep having sex for a day after the recommended amount (so three days in a row when you get the smiley face) just to be sure you have covered all bases and make sure you confirm ovulation using your temps.
I would warn readers however, if you have longer cycles or PCOS you might find it stressful to keep testing for up to a week or so and obviously you will burn through the test sticks faster.
The main issue I have with this test is that it is so horrendously un-environmental. The device is plastic (which I will be taking to the small appliance recycling plant when done as I do with any digital pregnancy tests I have used) but I was pretty surprised to find you need to buy a whole new kit and device when the testing sticks run out. Surely you could use new sticks with the existing device or it could have been thought through with a little more care so that you reused it?
It feels like a very disposable way to test for an LH surge and the test sticks themselves are packaged in non-recyclable packaging and are also non-recyclable. Possibly something for Clearblue to think through in the future?
You can buy through most online sellers for between £35 -£45 or direct from Clearblue.