Home Pregnancy Tests
In ancient Egyptian times, women who wanted to know if they were expecting a baby had their own version of an at-home pregnancy test. Think you might be pregnant? Learn more about how to take a pregnancy test.
Fairhaven Health Digital Basal Thermometer:
Temperature tracking requires the smallest financial investment of all the at-home tests. This digital BBT thermometer from Fairhaven, for instance, sells for $7.95. There are also mercury thermometers available for around the same price.
. . .Saliva
Saliva-based monitors work differently from urine monitors; instead of testing for LH, they measure the levels of estrogen detectable in electrolytes found in the saliva. To use these kits, a small amount of saliva is applied to a lens. Once the sample dries it’s examined under a microscope. Saliva with a higher level of estrogen—indicating a fertile phase—will have a distinct, fern-like pattern. Saliva-based microscope monitors generally cost between $25 and $60; brands include Cycle Check, Donna, Fertile Focus, Fertility Tracker, Lady-Q, MaybeMom, Ovulation Scope, Ovulens, Ovulite, and TCI, among others.
The OvaCue Fertility Monitor—an automated, electronic device—is more expensive, at $298, but easier to use. With OvaCue, a woman uses a small oral sensor, and the device measures the changes in the electrolytes and predicts the best time to attempt conception. As with the electronic urine monitors, the more expensive electronic saliva monitor can provide a greater peak fertility window. “The higher-priced models also interpret the results for you—by giving specific numbers rather than leaving it up to you to interpret whether the line is dark enough or your saliva looks fern-like enough,” says O’Malley. This may be especially important for women who wear glasses, for whom viewing a saliva sample through the microscope can be difficult.
Ovulite Ovulation Microscope:
Companies have packaged some mini-microscopes for saliva testing in sleek, lipstick-inspired cases. The Ovulite test kit ($39.95) employs a method similar to laboratory staining. After preparing a sample of saliva and allowing it to dry, a woman observes the pattern through the microscope and compares it to diagrams included with the kit. Ovulite’s manufacturer says the device will last for up to five years.
It was only a matter of time before a product came on the market to aid men on the road to conception. Babystart Male Fertility Test (also called FertilMARQ) is the first FDA-approved, at-home sperm test kit available over-the-counter. (Other home tests for men are currently in development.) Each packaged Babystart kit contains two tests, and costs around $40.
If your partner is concerned about or simply curious to know his sperm concentration levels, he can now find out in the privacy of his own home. The Babystart test will determine whether a man’s sperm concentration is above or below 20 million sperm cells per milliliter (mL) considered the cutoff for fertility. According to the informational pamphlet that accompanies the kit, two test results of less than 20 million/mL may indicate a problem.
To use the test, a man must abstain from ejaculating for three days. Then he obtains a sperm sample through masturbation or intercourse (using a special condom contained in the kit). The sample is added to a special cup (included in the kit) to make it liquefy faster. Then the liquefied sample is dropped onto a test stick and mixed with two different solutions (also included in the kit). The test has an overall accuracy rate of 78 percent.