When Do You Ovulate

Why is it important to be aware of your ovulation date? Quite simply, knowing when you ovulate is the key to becoming pregnant.

Ovulation can be defined as the time of month at which a mature egg is released and is available to be fertilized. The days surrounding your ovulation date represent your most fertile time of month. For this reason, correctly identifying your ovulation date is mission critical for the serious trying-to-conceive woman.

So How Do You Determine When You Ovulate?

We’ve established why it’s important to know when you ovulate – now let’s consider how you can accomplish this task. Fortunately for the trying-to-conceive woman, there are a number of methods at your disposal ranging from free to several hundred dollars.

Using an Ovulation Calculator:

On the free end of the spectrum, an ovulation calculator can provide you with a general sense of your ovulation date. You simply input some basic cycle information (the start date of your last period, your average cycle length, and average luteal phase length) and the calculator will spit out your projected ovulation date. While a calculator can be helpful in obtaining a general sense of when ovulation may occur, its prediction is based on statistical averages and doesn’t necessarily reflect what is happening in your unique situation.

Advantages of using an ovulation calculator: Free

Disadvantages of using an ovulation calculator: Based on statistical averages (potentially incaccurate)

Using Ovulation Tests:

Moving up a notch along the cost continuum we have urine-based ovulation tests. These represent the “bread and butter” method relied upon by most trying-to-conceive women, and they provide significant advantages over simple calendar-based ovulation prediction. Most importantly, they are sampling your own body’s unique hormonal composition to determine when ovulation is about to occur. Urine-based ovulation tests work by detecting the tell-tale increase in luteinizing hormone that presages ovulation. When you hit the test’s threshold sensitivity level (typically around 20-25 miu/ml LH), you see a positive result, indicating ovulation will occur within 24-48 hours.

Advantages of ovulation tests: Inexpensive (around $1.00 per test), reliable

Disadvantages of ovulation tests: Provides short notice of when ovulation will occur (24-48 hours)

Using Ferning Microscopes:

The next jump up the cost ladder takes us to saliva-based ovulation tests, such as Fertile Focus. These types of products work by detecting the surge in estrogen that occurs just prior to ovulation. An increase in the salinity of your saliva accompanies the estrogen surge, and this increase can be detected by observing a sample of saliva through a microscope. When the estrogen surge is at its zenith, a saliva sample will yield a ferning pattern (similar to frost on a windowpane).

Advantages of ferning microscopes: Fairly inexpensive (around $25), re-usable, provides greater advanced notice of ovulation than saliva-based testing (typically 3 days)

Disadvantages of ferning microscopes: Interpretation is subjective and can be challenging

Using an Electronic Fertility Monitor:

Electronic fertility monitors, such as the OvaCue, can be considered the “cadillacs” of ovulation prediction. They provide unambiguous results and offer greater advance notice of ovulation than other methods (up to seven days in the case of OvaCue), giving you a greater opportunity to conceive each month. Electronic fertility monitors work by sampling your body’s hormonal composition to determine when ovulation is at hand. They then generate clear-cut predictions as to your fertility status, telling you your ideal days to have intercourse for babymaking purposes.

Advantages of electronic fertility monitors: Superior ovulation prediction, unambiguous results (no interpretation needed), greater advance notice of ovulation than other methods.

Disadvantages of electronic fertility monitors: Cost

To be certain, there are many paths to arrive at the same destination when it comes to ovulation prediction devices. If you’re trying to conceive, however, we strongly encourage you to consider using one of the aforementioned methods to determine when you ovulate.

Predicting Ovulation