At-home fertility testing is a booming market. And why not? It’s so much easier to test, both male and female fertility, in your own home and it’s absolutely more convenient. But just how do these tests work and, moreover, how accurate are they at confirming fertility and predicting conception?
Here we take a look at these very popular at-home fertility tests and offer up the pros and cons of these convenient in-home tests. We examine just how they work and how reliable the outcome. First, let’s take a look at the science behind the popular at-home options.
The Science Behind At-Home Fertility Tests
Just as in your doctor’s office, an at-home test for fertility measures your reproductive hormone levels. However, your doctor’s office uses a blood sample and although some home tests may use a blood sample most of the at-home tests measure hormones from your saliva or urine. The hormone measurements indicate the quality and the viability of your eggs along with your ovarian reserve. The tests differ, and some require samples taken at different times during your menstrual cycle.
The main hormone the test measures is FSH or follicle stimulating hormone. This is the hormone that stimulates development of your eggs. Higher levels of FSH may indicate menopause or low egg reserve. Other hormones measured by at-home fertility tests are luteinizing hormone, estradiol, anti-Müllerian hormone and progesterone, all indicators of what’s happening with your fertility.
Types of Fertility Tests You Can Perform At Home
When you look for a fertility test, you can perform at home. The different types of testing kits available are overwhelming. However, it’s important to remember there are many factors that affect your ability to conceive and not all of them are assessed by these in-home test kits. Here are some of the more popular at-home fertility test kits.
- Basal Body Temperature Thermometers: Your body temperature rises slightly immediately prior to ovulation. This test uses your body temperature to look for a trend and provide an idea of the best time for conceiving.
- Ovulation Predictor Kits: An ovulation predictor kit (OPK) measures the amount of luteinizing hormone in your urine. The luteinizing hormone rises just before ovulation occurs. Much like the basal body temperature thermometer you can use this test to predict the best window for conception and time intercourse accordingly. You can use this test to find out if there is bio surge in luteinizing hormone and mention this result to your doctor.
- Fertility Monitor: This is a very thorough test as it measures both your luteinizing hormone levels and your basal body temperature. In addition, the monitor may also measure estrogen and progesterone and provide you information regarding ovulation times and your menstrual cycle.
- Hormone Measuring Blood Tests: This test provides deeper insight into what’s happening with your hormones. The blood test measures amount of luteinizing hormone, FSH, anti-Mullerian hormone, estradiol and progesterone. These measurements indicate ovarian reserve as well as egg quality and the likelihood for implantation.
- Sperm Analysis In-Home Test: These tests measure the number and quality of sperm in a semen sample.
Pros and Cons of At-Home Fertility Tests
As with any at-home medical tests, these fertility tests results offer you a generalized overview. For a more thorough look into your fertility, you will need to schedule a consultation with a qualified physician. That being said, here are the pros and cons of at-home fertility tests.
- Testing in your own home is convenient and easy. It’s much more comfortable than in a clinical setting.
- The test results provide an indication of what’s going on with your fertility.
- At-home tests are less costly than clinical tests, but aren’t covered by insurers.
- Technology can help make testing easier. You can get results or notified when you’re ovulating through your smartphone.
- At-home fertility tests only give you an overview of your fertility and not a definitive diagnosis.
- There are many factors that these tests don’t and can’t measure. For instance polycystic ovarian syndrome, a common cause of infertility may not show up as an issue with an at-home test. Likewise, some other underlying conditions.
- Fertility issues involving recurrent loss of pregnancy aren’t uncovered through an at-home test. You need to consult with your doctor.
- At-home fertility tests for male fertility only look at sperm and don’t look at other possible causes of male factor infertility. You need a doctor’s visit to assess for underlying conditions.
At-Home Testing Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story
Please keep in mind these tests cannot measure everything that contributes to fertility. Use them as a starting point and share the information you receive with your physician. Together you and your partner and doctor will determine the next steps.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your fertility or at-home fertility test results, please contact our office. We are available and eager to help you understand what’s happening with your fertility and find treatment to put you on the path to parenthood. Reach out to the compassionate and caring professionals at LA IVF.