This Simple Test Is Proven To Increase Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant
A promising new study shows that this readily available test can help couples struggling with fertility.
Trying to get pregnant can be a long and exhausting process for many couples. Twelve to 15% of couples struggle with infertility, meaning they don’t get pregnant after a year of trying. A new review study finds a simple way to increase the odds of conception: timing sex with the help of urine test that you can find just about anywhere.
The window for when conception can occur is about five days before to several hours after ovulation, so identifying when your partner’s ovaries release an egg is critical for timing sex to make a baby. There are several methods for determining when ovulation is about to occur, including ultrasound, a urine test that measures menstrual cycle-related hormone levels, and fertility awareness‐based methods such as tracking basal body temperature, cervical mucus monitoring, and charting your cycle on a calendar or using a period tracking app.
The new review study, which is a Cochrane review — a highly trusted type of review in the scientific community — analyzed seven randomized controlled trials (the gold standard of scientific trials) to figure out whether timed intercourse with these ovulation tracking methods actually impacts conception.
The researchers found that for women under 40 who have been trying to get pregnant for less than a year, timed sex based on urinary ovulation tests “probably” increases the chances of getting pregnant, measured with a positive urinary pregnancy test, compared to trying to conceive without tracking ovulation.
The “probably” here means that the strength of the evidence was “moderate.” Christian Becker, M.D., a reproductive sciences professor at Oxford and study co-author, said in a press release, “The high threshold of evidence required in a Cochrane review makes even this moderate quality evidence for the effectiveness of urine ovulation tests quite impressive.”
The authors write, “the results suggest that if the chance of pregnancy following intercourse without using urine ovulation tests is 18%, the chance following timed intercourse with urinary ovulation detection would be 20% to 28%.” It’s unclear whether this method has an effect on the time it takes to get pregnant.
“Many couples find it difficult to achieve a pregnancy, which can lead to concerns about their fertility,” Tatjana Gibbons, a doctorate student at Oxford University and lead author on the study, said in a press release. “The finding that a simple and easily available urine test can increase a couple’s chance of successful conception is quite exciting because it can empower couples with more control over their fertility journey and could potentially reduce the need for infertility investigations and treatments.”
Urine ovulation testing “probably” also increases the chance of live birth. As the authors write, “If the chance of a live birth without urine ovulation prediction is 16%, the chance of a live birth with urine ovulation prediction is 16% to 28%.” This isn’t a huge difference, but it is statistically significant. And considering that it can be so difficult to get pregnant, anything that can up your odds without causing stress is worth doing.
The researchers found that there was insufficient evidence as to whether ultrasound or the fertility awareness-based methods have any effect on pregnancy.
Now, it’s important to take the findings with a grain of salt because several of the studies included in the review were funded by manufacturers of urine ovulation tests.
Still, this evidence is a source of hope for couples who are struggling to get pregnant. Urine ovulation tests are easy to get; they’re available at most drug stores and usually come with five to seven sticks, according to MedlinePlus.
If your partner’s menstrual cycle is typically 28 days, they should begin testing (peeing on a stick) on the 11th day after their last period began, or three to five days before when they’re expecting to ovulate based on their cycle length. A positive result, designated by the stick turning a certain color, usually indicates that ovulation will occur in 24 to 36 hours, but check the information that comes with the specific test to be sure.