Fertility Charting with a Saliva Ovulation Microscope
Ovulation Predictors >> Fertility Charting with a Saliva Ovulation Microscope
A woman is fertile for only
a handful of days during each menstrual cycle. And because her egg has a short
life-span of just a day, predicting ovulation is central to conception. In working
with patients, there are a number of different methods and practices I recommend,
including maintaining a daily fertility chart.
Fertility charting allows a woman to monitor her own reproductive
wellness, help her understand the nuances of her own menstrual cycle, and to
correctly identify when she is most likely to conceive. Looking at several physiological
variables, a woman can learn to identify the days when she will most likely
ovulate - the best time to conceive a baby.
As a daily part of fertility charting, I have come to ask many
of my patients to include the use an ovulation microscope - a touchstone in
predicting a woman’s most fertile time.
is an Ovulation Microscope?
An ovulation microscope monitors and predicts fertility by detecting
hormone changes that occur prior to and during ovulation. When a woman approaches
her date of ovulation, she experiences a gradual increase in the hormone estrogen.
This “estrogen surge” facilitates an increase of salinity in her
saliva, which in turn produces qualitative changes in the structure of her saliva
– the formation of distinct crystalline patterns often referred to as
“ferns” or “ferning” – that can be viewed through
an ovulation microscope. (see our selection: fertility
monitors or by brand: Fertile
These crystal patterns,
which in appearance emulate "frost on a windowpane" or the delicate
fronds of a fern, indicate that an estrogen increase has occurred - a precursor
to ovulation. With a positive result (or ferning pattern) ovulation is most
likely to occur within 24 to 72 hours.
How does the Saliva Ovulation Test work?
The Ovulation Microscope detects hormone changes that occur prior to and
during ovulation. As estrogen increases, "ferning" or crystal
patterns can be viewed in dried samples of saliva. These patterns indicate
that ovulation is about to take place. The duration of your most fertile
time lasts from several days before ovulation to 24 or so hours after
ovulation. The duration of a woman's fertile period is typically around
six days, ending 24 hours following ovulation. Unlike urine LH tests,
the Ovulation Microscope allows you to track fertility and your cycle
changes. When you observe a positive result (crystal/ferning patterns),
ovulation is likely to occur within 24 to 72 hours.
do I test with the Ovulation Microscope?
Test on a daily basis and record results on a fertility chart or calendar.
Test first thing in the morning - but never after eating, drinking, or
brushing your teeth. These activities may interfere with results. If you
test later in the day, try to wait at least two to three hours after eating
the Ovulation Microscope accurate?
When instructions are followed, determining fertility through ovulation
microscopy has been shown to be 98% accurate.
is an "estrogen surge" or "estrogen spike"?
While estrogen is present in your body throughout your cycle, just prior
to ovulation you may have an “estrogen surge” - a marked increase
in the presence of estrogen. The increase of estrogen facilitates the
ferning patterns in your saliva. An estrogen surge or ovulation may not
occur in all cycles for all women.
ferning patterns observable at other times in my cycle?
A second second estrogen surge may occur right at the end of your cycle.
By monitoring cycle length, and keeping daily results, the second surge
should not be confounded with the estrogen surge preceding ovulation.
Also, as different women produce differing levels of estrogen, ferning
patterns may vary a bit in appearance and duration.
Ovulation Microscopes be used as a contraceptive device?
Ovulation microscopes should not be used as a contraceptive device.
do I apply a saliva sample?
For best results, collect a sublingual saliva sample as saliva glands
are located below the tongue. Pull (do not unscrew) the lens from the
housing. Collect a dab of saliva and place it on the surface of the lens.
Try to avoid making bubbles and allow the sample to dry for at least five
minutes before attempting to read results. The sample must be dry for
Clomid interfere with test results?
Clomid will not interfere with the Ovulation Microscope results, though
it may intensify the appearance and duration of ferning. If you are taking
Clomid, consult your physician for details.
I use the Ovulation Microscope if my cycle is irregular?
Yes, the Ovulation Microscope can be used by women with both regular and
are some tips for optimizing results?
Do not eat, drink, smoke, or brush teeth for at least 2-3 hours before
taking the test. Apply sublingual saliva sample to the
exterior lens. Always allow the saliva sample to dry, avoid air bubbles
in the sample and Focus by turning the focalizable lens (remove eye-glasses).
can interfere with results?
Pregnancy, menopause, or hormonal imbalance, supplemental estrogen, and
recent discontinuation of birth control medication may interfere with
results. In continued absence of any ferning, your body may not be producing
sufficient estrogen. Consult your physician.
the Ovulation Scope be Used as a Pregnancy Test?
While sustained ferning patterns may appear as a result of pregnancy,
the ovulation microscope is not designed to be a pregnancy test.
Using an ovulation microscope
is relatively simple, and my patients adore the convenience and ease-of-use
of this handy diagnostic device. In using the microscope, I ask my patients
to test in the morning, before eating or brushing teeth or even drinking water.
They simply collect a saliva sample (just a dab from below the tongue) and place
it on the lens of the microscope. After a five minute “drying period”,
they view the sample through the microscope and record the result on their fertility
During the "transitional phase" (at the onset of the
estrogen surge), my patients will see a mild or disconnected crystal-ferning
pattern. This transitional phase can typically last a few days. Then, during
a woman’s most fertile time of the month, a denser, intricate ferning
pattern can be observed. With a positive result, ovulation will most likely
take place within 72 hours.
What is most instructive - and fun - in using an ovulation microscope is the ability to monitor results over a patient’s entire menstrual cycle,
observing the gradual changes in the structure of her saliva as she approaches
ovulation. In fact, using an ovulation microscope is wonderful because it is
precisely this gradual transformation in saliva patterns that provide an early
alert to impending ovulation and fertility (something that urine-based LH tests
do not provide). This early-alert feature of ovulation microscopy makes the
microscope an especially invaluable tool for women with irregular cycles.
Even more important is the educational function of the ovulation microscope. Where an LH test functions like a light switch – either on
or off – the ovulation microscope allows a woman to view the nuances and
details of cycle changes. There is a dynamic quality to ovulation microscopy
allows her to feel the rhythm of her cycle and better connect with her overall
reproductive health and wellness.
While the ovulation microscope is not a new innovation, the popularity of this method of ovulation prediction
has increased in the United States over the past several years. The research
and clinical data behind ovulation microscopy has been around for a long time.
In fact, clinical studies indicate that saliva ovulation predictors are a very
accurate way to predict a woman’s most fertile time of the month. Many
of my patients have found these easy-to-use, handheld microscopes to be wonderful
addition to their daily charting routine. And more than one patient has attributed
a successful pregnancy to this diagnostic device.
FAQ and Article Courtesy of Fertile Focus.