Soon, after I get the doctor's okay, I will be back in the world of trying to conceive and had an idea. Could I use OPKs to test early (i.e. 10dpo, 12dpo) for pregnancy and if it looked promising, I could use a First Response Early Result to confirm pregnancy? Pregnancy tests are expensive. While OPKs aren't exactly cheap, especially the Clear Blue Digitals I use, they are less expensive.
Besides my personal experiences, I wanted to dig deeper to see if there is a reason a test that checks for LH could be used in place of a test the looks for HCG (pregnancy hormone).
- LH and HCG are both glycoproteins- they consist of a protein with a sugar attached to it. These hormones are comprised of two parts. If you were to break it down (I blocked out anything I learned in chemistry, but let's accept the fact that it can be broken down) the first part, the amino acid chains, are identical. The second part are extremely similiar in composition and function. This explains why some getting fertility treatments are given an HCG trigger shot to stimulate ovulation instead of getting an LH shot.
- HCG is more complex of a hormone, it has more parts than LH. Home pregnancy tests are supposed to look for these extra things, not in the LH. However, since they are so similiar, in many cases an OPK can detect HCG. However, a pregnancy test cannot detect LH because a pregnancy test is look for that extra part that LH doesn't have.
The experts point out there are reasons not to use OPKs as pregnancy tests.
- If you get a positive OPK, it is only detecting there is either LH or HCG in your system, you can't clearly distinguish which one is being picked up. I would argue though that if you are monitoring your cycle by temping or a fertility monitor, you would have a good idea.
- It could lead to false positives because you naturally have LH in your system throughout your cycle. The test picks up a surge of LH, but if the test is more sensitive you might get a false positive.
- Most pregnancy tests are more sensitive than OPKS so you would get a positive on a pregnancy test sooner than on an OPK.
Overall, experts agree it isn't a great idea to use OPKs as a pregnancy test. In my opinion, and please take it as just that, I think it might be worth testing.
Here is why. I like using First Response Early Result . They have always been accurate for me. Based on my previous post on pregnancy test sensitivity, you can get a positive by 12dpo. But I dread using them because they are costly.
After having two miscarriages, I am not sure I want to make a big deal to my husband or parents before I know this pregnancy is viable. Now that I am working with a fertility doctor, I can get an HCG beta test and get results the same afternoon. I don't want to waste a FRER on 10dpo, but I would like to know if I was pregnant. That way I could go in, get tested, and then retest on 12 dpo to see if my beta was doubling appropriately. If I did get an early positive on an OPK, which is much cheaper than a pregnancy test, I would use my First Response Early Result to confirm immediately. The downside to me is that if the OPK looks positive but is in fact picking up something else in my system.
Although, this all circles back to conversation about whether it is better to know before 14dpo so you don't risk the heartache of a chemical pregnancy.
What do you think? Would you try this approach?