As promised, here’s the skinny after wrapping up my first cycle of using my new (well, new-to-me) Clearblue Fertility Monitor.
A fertility monitor is more advanced than ovulation prediction kits. A FM measures and compares both luteinizing hormone and estrogen, as opposed to strictly an LH surge. The FM is also more sensitive and accurate. And, a bonus for me—there’s no test/control lines to squint and analyze. Huzzah!
Using a fertility monitor is easy enough (although I still recommend reading the entire instruction booklet. Considering the financial investment of the monitor, you’d better believe I read that booklet cover to cover!). You simply power the monitor on first thing every morning of your cycle to determine two things: 1. Whether the FM wants to be fed a test stick; and 2. Whether your personal fertility chances that day are low, medium, or high. You POAS (must be FMU), insert the cleanly capped stick into the FM, and wait five minutes. The display then shows one of the following:
- 1 bar = low fertility.
- 2 bars = medium fertility.
- 3 bars = high (“peak”) fertility, replete with a pic of a tiny egg.
If your cycle ends in a BFN, pressing the monitor’s only button (aside from the power button), tells it that a new menstrual cycle has begun, and the whole process repeats.
A FM learns your individual cycle over time. I hope this means that it requires less test sticks over time too, because I went through ten of those suckers this cycle alone ($)!
After receiving my monitor in the mail and giving it a thorough cleaning, I reset its internal computer, which you should do when buying a used one. A reset means it knew nothing about my cycles, and we started out our very intimate relationship as strangers. The FM asked for its first test stick on CD6 and required daily testing until it was finally satisfied on CD16.
The FM provides not one but two days of high or “peak” fertility. Unlike OPKs, the positive window for the first peak day lasts 24 – 36 hours (as opposed to 12 – 48 hours for OPKs). I liked this narrower window because it really helped me to pinpoint the exact day I was the most fertile.
Clearblue’s fertility monitor is palm-sized and discreet. There’s no wording or other markings on the monitor itself that could give away its function to someone who stumbles upon it. This makes me feel comfortable traveling with it or leaving it in the cabinet when guests use my home restroom. However, I have an older model; the newer monitor pics I found online look very different than my monitor, pictured above. The monitor could also easily slip into my pants pocket or purse, if needed.
And, as mentioned above, the most convenient part is not having to interpret test lines!
Fertility Monitor vs. Ovulation Prediction Kit
Eventually, I may reach to the place where I replace my OPKs with the FM. That said, I took no chances and still used Wondfo OPKs my first cycle.
I began OPK testing on CD10 and received a positive on CD11. Conversely, the monitor begin testing on CD6 and gave me the first of two positives on CD12. Clearly, one was wrong. But which? I wonder—absent blood tests and a few dates with an RE—how to know. I wish I’d bought this monitor during my days of visiting infertility docs, as it would’ve been handy to know which test was right! One day’s difference might not sound like a big deal to an outsider, but, since the ovulated egg is only solidly good for twelve hours, that one day can make or break a cycle.
To be safe—and much to Jake’s delight—-we took no chances and TTC’ed on CD9, 10, 11, 12, 14, and 15.
Being that I’m gearing up for cycle number two, the monitor failed in that I didn’t get pregnant. It’s not entirely the monitor’s fault though: all it can do is advise me the best day to have sex. It’s no miracle worker.
I completely forgot to reset my monitor on CD1 this month, mostly because I stowed the thing away weeks ago and am not yet in the habit of resetting it monthly. However, if you’re forgetful like me, there’s a way to override the FM’s computer and catch it up to your current cycle day. Good work, Clearblue, for making an option ‘B’ for women like me who space out on these kinds of things!
VERDICT: I think I’ll keep using the monitor for the next few months. When/if I: (a) stop TTC, (b) get tired of buying test sticks, or (c) get pregnant, I’ll either resell it online or give it away.
Overall rating: A.