Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Breaking News

The world of ovulation prediction tests and pregnancy tests is changing rapidly. With new scientific improvements occurring every day, there are a few key things every woman should consider before selecting a test kit.

Start by assessing your own scientific skills. Did you flunk 9th-grade biology? Tenth-grade chemistry? Do you remember what a pipette is? If not, better steer clear of the kits that come with collection cups, droppers, test trays, etc. Too many steps! Too much equipment!

We know, we know, if they'd made the real-world implications of learning to pipette clear back in high school, your whole life would be different right now. You might have stopped passing notes to your best girlfriend, asked the guy in front of you for some pipetting tips, invited him over for a study session, done your studying on the basement couch, gotten knocked up as a youngin, and never reached the stage of thirty-something, fading-fertility desperation that has you squinting bleary eyed at little pearls of yellow pee first thing in the morning, watching them tremble tremulously from the end of dropper, as you think, "drop, damn it, drop, fulfill your destiny, live up to your name, drop you damn droplet...Damn!--how many drops just fell?" Education reform now. That's all I'm sayin.

Right. So where was I? Ah yes, selecting kits. You are much much better off choosing the wand-style kits. Confusingly, these also come with cups. But no droppers. And no trays. At first you may want to ease into the transition to a new testing technique by peeing into a collecting cup like you're used to doing, then dipping the stick, then waiting for the results. Problem is, you still have to dispose of those little shot-glasses full of urine. And they don't offer you a chaser. Ick. Eventually, you will realize what a simple matter it is to just stick the damn stick into you urine stream, count to five, wait for the results. Voila. So simple. And those unused little collection cups? They make great paperclip sorting trays at the office.

With the sample collected, the hard part becomes interpreting the results. Almost all ovulation-prediction tests show results in the form of two pink lines. Your job is to decide which line is darker, the test line or the control line. If the test is darker, I mean if the control is darker, I mean if... Never mind. It doesn't really matter if you can remember which line is supposed to be darker, because just trying to determine if one of them actually is a shade darker than the other is going to drive you bananas. And, frankly, if you can read one of these things, you're pretty much already shit out of luck.

According to "Great at Any Age," the handy "guide to enjoying the best years of your life" offered on page 280 of the June 2005 issue of InStyle magazine, color vision "steadily improves until it reaches its peak in your thirties." My point? If your color vision is good enough to interpret one of those OPK's, you can go ahead and skip the damn test altogether. No need for a Day-Three FSH test. Your eggs are old. Your body has redirected its waning resources away from your ovaries and into your retinas.

Good luck, though. Once you've mastered the trick of peeing on a stick, one ovulation-prediction test is much like another. There's not a lot more to think about in choosing generic over brand. And, if you're very very lucky, you'll have many more chances to perfect your technique month after month.

I know I'll be working to hone my skills again this month...