The Science Behind Fertility Detectors
Saliva fertility testers rely on the fact that as a woman approaches ovulation, her changing hormone levels affect the salts in her saliva, which create a telltale ferning pattern when viewed under the scopes.
Saliva-testing microscopes have been sold in Europe for years, and are used there for contraception as well. However authorities in most countries do not allow the saliva testers to advertise themselves as contraceptives.
Saliva fertility detectors measure estrogen levels as they rise and fall every cycle to help predict and pinpoint your ovulation.
Estrogen levels are controlled by a very complex interplay of hormones within the body that prepare the ovaries to produce eggs and prepare the uterus to receive the embryo. These hormonal interplays cause the changing phases of a menstrual cycle. Here is a brief overview of these phases.
Quality ovulation microscopes consist of a cylindrical container (avoid plastic housing) that look like a lipstick container, a focalizable eyepiece (simply turn the lens to focus) and a slide or glass face where the saliva sample can be applied (look for a glass lens of 50X magnification or more).
Ovulation is the fertile time of your menstrual cycle. Each month eggs are maturing inside the ovary at different stages. During ovulation, one egg is released into the fallopian tube, where it may meet the sperm and become fertilised.
More than one egg might be released at the same time – the cause of most cases of fraternal twins – but this is rare: about 3% of births are twins or triplets. In the case of fraternal twins, two eggs are fertilised by separate sperm and develop in the womb together. In the case of identical twins, a single egg is released and is fertilised by a single sperm, but it divides in the womb into two separate embryos. Fraternal twins may be the same or different sexes; identical twins will always be the same gender.
Your body prepares in a number of ways for a fertilised egg.
During the Follicular Phase, a maturing egg inside a follicle develops in the ovary. The lining of the uterus starts to thicken and the follicle secretes growing amounts of estrogen. At ovulation the estrogen production comes to a peak, the egg is released from the follicle, and it starts moving towards the uterus along the fallopian tube.
In the Luteal Phase, the egg-less follicle becomes a corpus luteum, stops making estrogen and generates progesterone which has the effect of continuing to develop the uterine lining (the endometrium) to prepare it for implantation of a fertilised egg, and slightly raises the basal body temperature.
Meanwhile, the egg is fertile for about 24 hours after release. The egg can’t be fertilised before it is released, nor can it be fertilised more than 24 hours later.
If fertilization takes place, immediately after the egg is released from the follicle, the fertilized egg continues to move along the fallopian tubes towards the uterus and then attaches itself to the wall of the uterus and becomes an embryo. Once there it starts to secrete hormones of its own, which cause the uterine lining to stay intact to support the growing baby. Congratulations! You are pregnant!
If fertilisation does not take place immediately after the egg is released, and consequently no fertilised egg implants itself in the endometrium, the corpus luteum fades away, progesterone production ceases and the uterine lining detaches. This results in menstruation (your period) and the start of another cycle.
Wikipedia has full details of the entire menstrual cycle.
A World of Tests
Many tests are available that report on the menstrual cycle. It may helpful to use several ovulation detection (OPK) methods together with the fertility detector to confirm your ovulation date. Bear in mind, however, that unlike many of these methods, fertility detectors allow you to predict your ovulation so you can prepare for the precious window of opportunity every month. Furthermore, fertility detectors can be re-used again and again, so you won’t have to keep purchasing disposable products such as LH tests every month.
Affordable Detection and Prediction
The discovery that estrogen is secreted in saliva when ovulating was made by scientists in the 1950s. It was also discovered that as this saliva dried, the estrogen would form crystals which were visible under high magnification. There was enormous interest in a saliva ovulation test that was non-invasive, simple, and accurately predicted when a woman was most fertile, but back then the cost of microscopes capable of seeing the crystals meant that this test was only available in laboratories.
All this changed when the ‘Maybe Baby’ fertility detector was released in Australia in 1999. For the first time an affordable, accurate and reusable microscope is available for discreet and private use by women who are trying to get pregnant.
Sufficiently-high levels of estrogen crystalize when saliva dries on a slide, and these crystals can be seen as a fern-leaf pattern through a microscope. Microscopes cost thousands of dollars, and are not readily available to most people, especially at home, so this simple and non-invasive method of predicting ovulation was not readily available.
How does the fertility detector work?
What will I see, and what does it mean?
Fertility detectors work by creating a highly-magnified image of your dried saliva that can show the tiny crystals caused by the high levels of estrogen present around ovulation.
The level of estrogen that exists naturally in your saliva increases dramatically 2-3 days prior to ovulating, and reaches its peak during ovulation.
During these times, the high levels of estrogen form a distinctive pattern that is visible in dried saliva and looks like a fern through the fertility detector ovulation microscope.
During a low estrogen phase, you will see other patterns in your dried saliva that look like dots or pebbles. When you see these patterns, you are not likely to conceive.
Charting these different patterns will help you determine which stage of your cycle you are in, and can help you predict and pinpoint when you are ovulating.
(Please note that these images are a guide – they are illustrated here with black for clarity, but you will see them as translucent or grey patterns against the green background).
A pattern of pebbles or dots indicates a low oestrogen phase when you are not ovulating or not near ovulation. Your chances of conceiving during this time are low.
A combination of pebbles and small ferns reveals the transitional phase when oestrogen levels are rising, usually in the 2 to 3 days before ovulation. You can increase your chances of falling pregnant by having intercourse when you see the transitional phase and during full ferning.
A distinctive, full fern pattern will be seen during ovulation, when oestrogen levels are high. This is your optimum fertile period, the best time to become pregnant. If you are trying to conceive, have intercourse when you see the full fern patterns.
For the 2-3 days after ovulation, the transitional phase will usually appear again, but can be ignored. You are very unlikely to get pregnant if you have intercourse more than 24 hours after ovulation.
Ferning around the menstrual cycle can occur but does not relate to ovulation and should be ignored.
Fertility Detectors can complement other methods of ovulation detection, such as basal body temperature tracking, cervical mucous testing and LH-testing/ OPK (urinary ovulation tests).
Please note that there are NO products available that can guarantee success in achieving pregnancy, and not all women have peak estrogen levels high enough to be detected with a fertility detector microscope. Fertility detectors are designed to improve the chances of conception, but may not be suitable for everyone.
The Benefits of a Saliva Fertility Detector
- 98% accurate when used properly.
- Use it anytime, anywhere
- Easy to use
- Convenient saliva test (no messy urine tests)
- Lipstick sized, portable self-contained unit
- Can be used any time of the day or month
- Fast and Accurate
- Helps pinpoint ovulation three to four days in advance
- Results can be seen as soon as the saliva is dry (10-15 minutes)
- May help influence the gender of the child conceived
- Value for money
- Re-usable day after day, month after month, there is nothing else to buy
- No special maintenance required
- Available from pharmacies/drug stores
So which Ovulation Microscope is the Best?
I highly recommend to all my clients and site visitors (and two daughters!) the Fertile Focus Ovulation Microscope as it’s affordable, accurace, ease-of-use, and completely re-usable.
I am a proud ‘Nanny’ to 5 gorgeous grandchildren – proof this fertility detector (and progesterone cream) really works!!
For those who find looking into a microscope just too darn confusing, I recommend Clear Blue Fertility Monitor Test Sticks
In love & appreciation,
Catherine P. Rollins
Founder & CEO