Home testing ovulation and fertility? Are they accurate? Experts answer | Health - Hindustan Times

Home testing ovulation and fertility? Are they accurate? Experts answer

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Apr 20, 2024 02:09 PM IST

At-home testing options are growing in the market but the concern is - should you solely rely on at-home tests? Do they provide accurate/complete information?

Infertility is characterised as the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse or after six months if the individuals involved are over the age of 35 and it is a prevalent issue, impacting as many as 1 in 6 couples in India. In face of this, over the past few years, various over-the-counter versions of conventional fertility diagnostic tests have become accessible for home use where these tests provide an affordable and convenient option for individuals to assess their fertility from the ease of their homes however, it is crucial to understand that while at-home fertility tests can offer convenience and affordability, experts insist that they should be viewed as a preliminary tool rather than a substitute for comprehensive medical evaluation.

Home testing ovulation and fertility? Are they accurate? Experts answer (Image by Freepik)
Home testing ovulation and fertility? Are they accurate? Experts answer (Image by Freepik)

With growing at-home testing options in the market comes a grave concern of individuals solely relying on at-home tests that may provide inaccurate or incomplete information. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Parul Gupta, Fertility expert at Nova IVF Fertility in Gurgaon, shared, “The most common fertility tests include Ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), Basal body temperature (BBT) thermometers, fertility monitors, sperm analysis tests, etc. These tests often target specific aspects of fertility, such as hormone levels or sperm count. Consequently, they may lack the capacity to offer a comprehensive evaluation of overall reproductive health, potentially overlooking important contributing factors such as age, past medical history, current medications, etc.”

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She revealed, “In addition, fertility issues frequently involve a combination of both male and female factors, making them complex in nature. At-home tests may not encompass the entirety of issues that could contribute to infertility. Moreover, the accurate interpretation of fertility test results necessitates medical expertise. Healthcare professionals consider various factors, medical history, and conduct a range of tests to provide a more thorough understanding of fertility. Solely relying on at-home tests may lead to misinterpretation and inappropriate actions, enforcing the importance of consulting with medical professionals for comprehensive fertility assessments.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Chetna Jain, Director Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in Gurgaon, expalined, “The importance of ovulation in conception cannot be overstated, as it is the key event in the menstrual cycle when a mature egg is released from the ovary and is available for fertilisation by sperm. Understanding ovulation and accurately predicting fertile days is crucial for optimizing the chances of conception.”

According to her, here's why ovulation timing is important -

  1. Maximising Fertility Window: Ovulation typically occurs midway through the menstrual cycle. By identifying the timing of ovulation and the fertile window (the days leading up to and including ovulation), couples can time intercourse to coincide with the release of the egg, maximising the chances of fertilisation.
  2. Optimising Sperm Survival: Sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for several days but the egg is only viable for a short period after ovulation. By timing intercourse close to ovulation, couples can ensure that sperm are present in the reproductive tract when the egg is released, increasing the likelihood of fertilisation.
  3. Improving Pregnancy Success: Couples who accurately time intercourse with ovulation have a higher likelihood of achieving pregnancy compared to those who do not. Understanding ovulation patterns and fertility windows can help identify potential fertility issues and guide couples in seeking appropriate medical assistance if needed.

Dr Chetna Jain summarised, “Overall, knowing when ovulation occurs and accurately predicting fertile days is essential for couples trying to conceive naturally. Home ovulation and fertility tests can provide valuable information to help optimize the timing of intercourse and improve the chances of conception. However, it's important to remember that these tests are just one tool in the fertility awareness toolkit, and couples should consult with healthcare providers for personalised guidance and support on their conception journey.”

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