TTC & Fertility Product
An Introduction to Tests, Monitors, and Accessories
to help you become pregnant!
In the last decade or so we've seen a flurry
of new trying-to-conceive products - so many that it's difficult
to wade through them all. That's why we have provided the overview
below to help you determine which product is the right one for
your unique needs and tastes.
Just a decade ago
there were only a scant supply of products available to help couples
conceive a baby, or get pregnant sooner. Back then, our only option,
at best, was to buy an over-priced ovulation prediction kit that
was more like an awkward chemistry set than the affordable and
effortless one-step ovulation tests available now! In fact, today
we almost have an excess of products and options, a nearly overwhelming
selection of fertility monitors, fertility
supplements, and baby-making
accessories. Hopefully, this article will clear the smoke
surrounding the many products available today and help you select
the right fertility aids for you!
Predicting Ovulation: From Traditional OPKs to Hi-Tech
During a woman's menstrual cycle, her body undergoes
numerous changes and marked fluctuations in various reproductive
hormones. Ovulation prediction devices are designed to detect
changes in these hormonal shifts and surges - particularly the
increase of two key reproductive hormones that takes place directly
prior to a woman's most fertile time of the month. These two hormones
are estrogen and LH (or luteinizing
hormone). Estrogen helps prepare the uterus for pregnancy; a surge
in LH actually causes ovulation (the release of the egg) to take
place. If you can detect these hormonal changes, then you can
predict ovulation, time lovemaking, and vastly increase your chances
of conceiving a baby!
LH Urine Ovulation Tests: Traditional urine
ovulation tests are still the standard today. That's because identifying
the LH surge is a sure way to not only predict fertility,
but pinpoint the narrow time window when ovulation will very likely
take place. Because the surge in LH actually facilitates ovulation,
a positive test result will tell you that ovulation is imminent
and will very likely take place in the next day or two. If you
receive a positive result, its time to make love daily over the
next 72 hours - and increase your chances of conception! Contemporary
urine ovulation tests are over 99% accurate and effortless to
use - and they are great deal more affordable than the testing
kits of just a few years ago. Price: Clinical
Lh strips are very affordable at about $1.00 each. Drugstore brands
may cost $10.00 to $15.00 for just two kits.
Ovulation Microscopes: Ovulation
microscopes are a convenient, accurate, and easy prediction device,
and many women use scopes like Fertile Focus in concert with traditional
LH urine tests. What's great about using these products together
is that they "focus" in on two different reproductive
hormones. Ovulation microscopes work by detecting a woman's estrogen
surge, a more gradual increase in estrogens that takes place
about five to six days prior to ovulation. With the ovulation
microscope, you simply view a dry saliva sample through a 50X
to 60X magnification lens. If you are nearing your fertile time
of month, you'll begin to see crystalline "ferning"
patterns in the saliva - it'll be like suddenly seeing frost on
a windowpane! And as you approach ovulation, you'll see the crystal
patterns become increasingly sharp and intense. Doctor-approved,
the ovulation microscope is particularly handy for women you tend
to want to avoid the messier urine ovulation tests. We recommend
using both! Price: $25.00 to $50.00
Fertility Monitors: Fertility monitors are typically
hi-tech, computerized devices that typically track both LH and
estrogen. There are a number of monitors on the market today,
and they are a fantastic investment, even though somewhat more
expensive than urine tests or the ovulation scopes. Some monitors
are designed to be used with urine samples, others with saliva,
and yet others utilize biosensors that detect changes in skin
perspiration. We've come along way in ten years! All of the kits
discussed below are over 99% accurate and provide "digital"
results. Let's review some of the major representative products
and see how each works. Prices: Between $100
The ClearBlue Fertility Monitor:
The ClearBlue set the bar high when it appeared some
years back - and it still leads today among all hi-tech devices.
The ClearBlue requires that you use urine samples; simply dip
a test stick in urine and in minutes the monitor will digitally
display your fertility status: low, high,
or peak. What's nice about the ClearBlue Monitor is
that it targets both LH and estrogen, providing enhances accuracy
in determining when you are about to ovulate. ClearBlue is also
backed by a reputable, world-class manufacturer with toll-free
telephone support. Data can be uploaded into your personal computer
for fertility charting. Requires special ClearBlue test sticks.
The OvaCue: Like the ClearBlue, the OvaCue
is able to track both the LH surge and increases in estrogen.
It offers accuracy and ease-of-use. What makes the OvaCue unique
is that you can use saliva instead of urine samples. Just place
a dab of saliva on the biosensor and the OvaCue will tell you
if you are nearing ovulation. The OvaCue comes as a self-contained
unit, but a vaginal sensor is available as an accessory for
increased accuracy, as well as a software program that uploads
results into an ovulation calendar. Pretty amazing stuff! An
additional advantage of the OvaCue is that is does not
require additional test sticks or biosensors.
The OVWatch: If you want convenience and never
a mess, then the OVWatch is your monitor. It even works while
you sleep! Just strap on the OVWatch at night and when you wake
the next day, read your fertility result as if checking the
time. The OVWatch works by detecting changes in the chemical
composition of your perspiration. As with ovulation scopes,
an increase in the estrogens cause changes in both the composition
of saliva and sweat. The OVWatch takes computer readings every
30 minutes while you sleep to detect a jump in the amount of
chloride ions in your skin. Also tells you which cycle day you
are on. Requires that you change the biosensor each cycle.
Charting Tools & Baby-Making Accessories:
Using ovulation tests or fertility monitors are a great way to
home in on your ovulation date - as part of a larger fertility
charting campaign. Fertility charting is simply daily tracking
of fertility signs and bodily temperature to help you determine
when you are fertile each month. By charting fertility with an
ovulation calendar or bbt chart, you can learn a great deal about
your body's natural cycles and verify when ovulation takes place
each month. And hat's why pretty much every Ob/Gyn in the world
recommends fertility charting if you are trying to conceive. Let's
look at a few tools designed to assist you with this charting
and babymaking process!
Basal Body Thermometer (BBT): A basal thermometer
is specially designed to help you detect subtle changes in your
body's resting (or basal) temperature. By taking your basal temperature
first thing each morning, you can detect a marked thermal shift
that takes place when you ovulate: you're body will "heat
up" due to an increase of the hormone progesterone. Once
you see this "thermal shift" on your chart, you know
you have ovulated! A digital basal thermometer is unique because
it provides temperature readings to 1/100th of a degree. If you
prefer a glass basal thermometer, a new, safe mercury-free version
is now on the market.
Pre-Seed Sperm-Friendly Lubricant:
Pre-Seed marked a revolution for trying-to-conceive women
- a smash-hit of a product that is beloved by countless of TTC
couples the world over. Pre-Seed is a "sperm-friendly"
sexual lubricant that is used directly before procreative sex.
Designed to take the stress out of on-demand intercourse, Pre-Seed
is the only product of its kind, offering a PH-balanced moisturizing
formula that won't inhibit the movement in sperm. In fact, Pre-Seed
is designed to emulate fertile cervical mucus, and therefore may
actually increase your odds of conceiving (as many customers claim).
FertilMARQ Sperm Test: The FertilMARQ male fertility
kit allows you to test your sperm count. The FertilMARQ male fertility
test kit is an easy-to-use screening test to measure sperm concentration.
The test determines whether your sperm concentration is above
or below 20 million sperm cells per milliliter. Affordable and
easy to use, the FertilMARQ can let you know if you need to talk
to your doctor regarding possible male fertility issues.
Fertility Enhancement Supplements:
Unlike prescription fertility drugs, over-the-counter
fertility supplements are safe, natural herbal-nutritional alternatives
designed to support reproductive wellness and increase your odds
of getting pregnant. There are a number of brands on the market
today, but only a few that we would recommend. These include the
doctor-approved FertilAid or FertilityBlend. Containing a powerful
spectrum of vitamins and proven herbal formulas, FertilAid comes
in two special formulas - a woman's blend (containing folic acid
and vitex agnus castus) and a men's blend (containing essential
antioxidants and l-carnitine). The ingredients in these supplements
have been carefully selected based on clinical studies indicating
increased fertility rates or, in the case of the men's formula,
improved sperm motility and count.
FertilAid for Women and Men: Formulated by
fertility expert Amos Grunebaum, MD, FertilAid is unique because
it combines complete vitamin formulas with a special
proprietary blend of proven herbal ingredients. The Women's
formula essentially contains everything in a prenatal vitamin,
but also includes the natural herb vitex agnus castus
and other safe, fertility-enhancing nutrients. The FertilAid
for Men formula is strong on antioxidants and boasts a potent
dose of the natural amino acid, l-carnitine, which
has been shown in numerous studies to improve both sperm count
and motility. Great products at a great price.
FertilityBlend Supplements: Another safe choice
is FertilityBlend, which contains many of the ingredients in
FertilAid. Though the formulas are not as complete, FertilityBlend
for Women has been proven effective in clinical trials at Stanford
University in increasing a woman's odds of conceiving.
So that's a quick overview of what's new in fertility products
and related accessories. We hope you have found it an instructive
point of departure for selecting products that might be of use
to you in your trying-to-conceive efforts!