Grant it, I have written about fertility monitors before, but I have since tried out many more and have formed certain opinions on them. I sell many different brands and receive many calls about the differences in the brands.
First, let’s define what a fertility monitor is. A fertility monitor is a device that alerts you to impending ovulation. They go by many different names: fertility monitor, ovulation monitor, ovulation microscope, fertility microscope, saliva monitor, and saliva microscope are the popular names, with the term “fertility monitor” being the most popular. They require samples of saliva, urine, or cervical fluid to run the test. There are many different brands and types of fertility monitors, ranging from around $20 to $400.
Saliva Monitors are also known as saliva microscopes or ovulation monitors. These little monitors range in price from around $22.00 to around $60.00. Different brands, different prices, but they all do the same thing, which is show a ferning pattern or not with a small sample of saliva. The monitors are easy to use, very accurate, and cost-effective. Most look like a tube of lipstick (Fertile Focus), requiring a small light bulb and a battery. One brand (Fertility Tracker) looks like, and indeed is, a microscope.
Each morning, you take a bit of saliva on the tip of your clean finger (before eating or drinking) and smear it onto the lens of the saliva monitor. After about five minutes, you then look at the lens and determine whether or not you see ferns. The presence of ferns on the lens suggests that ovulation is near, occurring, or just occurred. If you take these readings daily, you can fairly well pinpoint when ovulation is about to happen. Coupled with fertility charting, you can pinpoint ovulation with almost 100% accuracy.
Urine Monitors, these monitors can range in cost from around $60 to over $200. These monitors test for the hormones LH (luteinizing hormone and/or FSH). Because these monitors require monthly purchases of test strips or discs (ranging in price from $25-$50 per month), they can be a costly investment. A few of the name brands are Clear Blue and TCI OvuLook.
Each day, at specified times, you collect urine in a cup, then dip the test strip or drop it onto a test disc. The monitor then displays the point at which you are in your cycle, thus alerting you to impending ovulation.
Electrolyte Monitors, monitors that measure the electrolytes in saliva and/or cervical fluid can cost from $200 to $500. Although these are as costly as the urine monitors, there is nothing more to buy except a battery. Testing the electrolytes, these monitors can alert you to impending ovulation 5 to 7 days in advance.
I personally own a Cue II (an earlier version of the now OvaCue Fertility Monitor), which is one of the original electrolyte monitors. It’s an investment worth making if you plan to have more than one baby. Though the company doesn’t promote it as a birth control device, I personally use it this way since the oral sensor alerts me to ovulation 7 days in advance. The vaginal sensor confirms right before ovulation and the day of ovulation.
The OvaCue is similar to the Cue II except that it stores the information in the unit, whereas with the Cue II, you have to chart the readings on a piece of paper. The OvaCue’s information can also be uploaded to a computer with the purchase of the optional software and cable.
What monitor you choose is up to you. They vary in price, in warranty, and in what they are able to do. Many women use them after the baby for natural birth control, though most of the manufacturers do not recommend this. If you are looking for a quick, affordable means of pinpointing ovulation, then check out the saliva monitors or microscopes. If you want one that will alert you to ovulation one week in advance and store the information for you, check out the electrolyte monitors. All in all, they are all good investments, in my opinion.