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The Saliva Ovulation Test: A Cheaper Alternative to OPK

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Friday, May 16, 2008 | 0 comments

Yes! Your fertility can be traced from your saliva via the saliva ovulation test!

You can find out whether your are fertile from your saliva by examining it under a microscope where some distinct ferning patterns will be seen if you are.

Saliva ovulation predictors are also known as ferning testers or ferning detection kits. They are cheaper alternatives to the OPK tests in predicting your fertility.

How can You Tell from Your Saliva that You are Fertile?

This may begin to sound like an old story. Nevertheless, it has to be retold.

Before and during your ovulation, you will experience hormonal changes in your body. Your Estrogen will rise (together with your Luteinising Hormone (LH), yes). While OPK detects the presence of LH in your urine, a saliva ovulation test will detect a rise in your Estrogen level, as indicated by a corresponding rise in the salt content in your saliva.

The saliva ovulation test does not actually detect your Estrogen increase, but detects the increase in the salinity level in your saliva. The amount of salt ever present in your saliva changes according to your menstrual cycle. When you are about to ovulate, your saliva's salt content rises caused by an Estrogen increase.

Salinity in your saliva produces a ferning pattern when viewed under a special ovulation microscope. You are actually looking at the crystalised salt in your dried saliva. The pattern is called 'ferning' because it resembles ferns. Some people thought they look like frost on a glass pane.

The appearance of distinct ferning pattern indicates positive results. It means that you will ovulate in about one to three days' time.

You may also observe that your cervical mucus is getting stringier during this time. Incidentally, this ferning crystal pattern is also observed from dried cervical fluid under a microscope.

What about your infertile days? What does your saliva look like under the microscope?

Well, if you examine your saliva in those days, you will see no distinct pattern, just clumps, nothing distinguishable. Then, distinct ferning will appear prior to ovulation and to the time you ovulate. After that, the pattern will break into large clumps with some ferning when you are about to menstruate.

As you are a special and unique individual, you will produce a different level of Estrogen from your girl friends or sisters. Therefore, don't compare your ferning pattern with theirs, if they're also testing themselves. You will have to keep on observing your own unique ferning patterns and learn to recognize when you peak fertility.

The Ovulation Microscope

The saliva ovulation test's sole instrument is a microscope. Your fertile ferning pattern cannot be seen with the naked eye. You'll need a microscope, any microscope. However, if you want ease of use, use a specially designed ovulation microscope that is small and handy.

The usual ovulation microscope is made up of a few basic parts:

A cylindrical container that looks like a lipstick. Do try to get the non-plastic type so that it won't break easily.

An eyepiece to enable you to see the ferning pattern.

A glass slide where you place your saliva sample. Just a tiny drop or a dab of saliva will do.

An illuminator. This is the light source to aid the viewing of the ferning pattern. You simply hit a small button to light up the image. (Some ovulation microscopes don't come with a light source and you'll have to view your sample under sunlight or a room light.)

Newer models of ovulation microscope exist in the market that offer more high tech features. However, the basic and cheaper model suffices for your purpose.

Directions in Usage

Test your saliva first thing in the morning before you consume any food and drink, and even before brushing your teeth. The logic is to prevent your saliva sample from being contaminated by what you have introduced into your mouth.

If you forget this rule and take your breakfast, then test your saliva later in the day. However you should wait for another two to three hours before testing your saliva.

Use the saliva that is beneath your tongue (nearer to your saliva glands) for best results.

Use an applicator if provided by the test kit, or apply your saliva onto the slide with a clean and dry finger, or directly with your tongue.

Avoid causing air bubbles in your saliva sample so as not to let them interfere with the ferning pattern.

Let your saliva dry for about five minutes before viewing.

Follow all instructions given in the test kit closely to get optimal results.


First and foremost, the saliva ovulation test has a high accuracy rate, scoring as high as 98% based on research.

This test kit is an inexpensive tool as it does not require maintenance and is re-usable; the microscope can last for many years if you handle it with care.

If you have long, irregular and erratic cycles, the saliva ovulation test kit is the best fit for you as it is the most economical ovulation predicting tool you can find. You don't need to pay for any additional supply such as testing sticks etc.

It is easy to use, and can be used in the day or night, as long as you wait for two to three hours after introducing anything into your mouth that can pollute your saliva, such as food, drink or cigarettes etc.

Interference to the Test Results

Since the viability of the saliva ovulation test is based on accurate monitoring of hormonal changes in your body, anything that upsets your hormonal system will interfere with the accuracy of the test results.

Results of your ovulation tests will therefore be altered if you're taking a hormonal supplement, or if you're pregnant or going through menopause. If you were on birth control medication and only discontinued them recently, your test results may also be affected. If you are unsure, check with your doctor.

(You may like to check out these links if you have not already done so)
Signs of Ovulation
Basal Body Temperature
Fertility Monitor - this employs micro-technology to help you predict ovulation, highly recommended, click on the links below:
The Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor - test your urine
The Ovacue - test your saliva
The Ov-Watch - test your sweat


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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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