Objective: To review the literature concerning ovulation prediction devices and pregnancy detection tests for home use.
Data sources: Articles were identified through searches of the MEDLINE (1966-May 2003), EMBASE (1980-May 2003), and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970-May 2003) databases using the key words ovulation, ovulation detection, pregnancy test, diagnostic reagent kit, and diagnostic test. Additional references were located through review of the bibliographies of the articles found in the literature search. Searches were not limited by time restriction, language, or use of human or animal subjects.
Study selection and data extraction: Review articles, textbook chapters, and experimental and observational studies on home use ovulation and pregnancy tests were selected.
Data synthesis: Luteinizing hormone (LH)-based ovulation tests have demonstrated accurate and superior ovulation detection when compared to basal body temperature charting, calendar calculation, salivary ferning, or observation of vaginal or cervical discharge changes. Systems using LH and estrone-3-glucuronide (E3G) have also demonstrated accurate detection of the fertile period. Literature evaluating home use of pregnancy tests has demonstrated accurate use by lay persons.
Conclusions: Urinary-based ovulation prediction and pregnancy detection tests available for use by nonprofessionals enable women and couples to take an active role in the family planning process. Numerous products are available at reasonable costs to the consumer.