Rationale: Ovulation confirmation is a fundamental component of the evaluation of infertility.
Purpose: To inform the design of a larger clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of a new home-based pregnanediol glucuronide (PDG) urine test to confirm ovulation when compared with the standard of serum progesterone.
Methods: In this observational prospective cohort study (single group assignment) in an urban setting (stage 1), a convenience sample of 25 women (aged 18-42 years) collected daily first morning urine for luteinisinghormone (LH), PDG and kept a daily record of their cervical mucus for one menstrual cycle. Serum progesterone levels were measured to confirm ovulation. Sensitivity and specificity were used as the main outcome measures. Estimation of number of ultrasound (US)-monitored cycles needed for a future study was done using an exact binomial CI approach.
Results: Recruitment over 3 months was achieved (n=28) primarily via natural fertility regulation social groups. With an attrition rate of 22%, specificity of the test was 100% for confirming ovulation. Sensitivity varied depending on whether a peak-fertility mucus day or a positive LH test was observed during the cycle (85%-88%). Fifty per cent of participants found the test results easy to determine. A total of 73 US-monitored cycles would be needed to offer a narrow CI between 95% and 100%.
Conclusion: This is first study to clinically evaluate this test when used as adjunct to the fertility awareness methods. While this pilot study was not powered to validate or test efficacy, it helped to provide information on power, recruitment and retention, acceptability of the procedures and ease of its use by the participants. Given this test had a preliminary result of 100% specificity, further research with a larger clinical trial (stage 2) is recommended to both improve this technology and incorporate additional approaches to confirm ovulation.
Trial registration number: NCT03230084.
Keywords: gynaecology; reproductive medicine; subfertility.
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