Before you even get pregnant, having babies can be costly.
Testing to see when you are at your most fertile, and home pregnancy testing kits can be extremely expensive, especially if, like many women, you get tempted to run a test every two weeks when you are trying.
Fertility and ovulation tests – do you really need them?
Before you rush out to buy test kits to see when you are at your most fertile each month, take a good look at the Conception part of this site. There is advice there about how to Chart your own menstrual cycle, and free downloads to make your own chart at home. This will help you read your cycle far more accurately and might well rule out the need to do tests every day to see if you are ovulating.
As for fertility testing – even couples who are having regular sex and have no medical problems take on average six months to conceive, with 95 per cent getting pregnant by 12 months. Regular sex is more important than worrying right now if you are fertile!
If you have a medical concern about either partner’s fertility, you can see your GP before you start trying, and if there are no problems, a GP will usually suggest fertility tests after 12 months of trying.
Of course it is understandable that many couples who have been trying for a while, get worried that there is a problem, and for them, home-testing allows them to ‘prepare for the worst’ by the time they see a GP.
However, fertility tests can be expensive. Before you get one, look at your lifestyle to see if there are other reasons (other than subfertility) why you might not have been successful yet: stress, not being able to have regular sex due to a partner being away a lot, an illness, bad diet and fatigue. Try to address these before investing in a fertility test kit.
The cost of fertility and ovulation test kits
When you do come to buy one, there are some male and female ones which are sold cheaper when bought together. You should expect to pay around £35 to £100 for a full-on fertility predictor kit which stores information about your fertile days over a few menstrual cycles. Ovulation test kits – one-off tests – will cost around £7 to £16 for pack of five depending if you buy them online or through a health store chain.
Pregnancy test kits: when to use one
We all hope that we’ll only ever need one pregnancy test – which says, 'Yep, you’re pregnant!' But of course, for many women who are trying for several months, testing can become a habit. An expensive and soul-destroying one, sometimes.
Because advances in tests being able to detect tiny levels of the pregnancy hormone now mean you can find out if you are pregnant days or even two weeks before your next period, many women are opting to do tests before any other signs have shown themselves.
Ideally, you should wait until you have missed your period for at least seven days. This used to be because the tests themselves needed higher levels of the pregnancy hormone to detect (the hormone’s presence in your urine doubles every day, making it very high by the time your period is due). But now, you should do it to cut back on the number of test kits you buy to save yourself money and to save yourself the draining experience of disappointment.
A missed period is your best indicator that it’s time for a test, not ‘a strange feeling’, sore boobs, aching tummy or any of the other things which can be real or imagined at this important time in your life.
We really don’t want to lecture you, and we do understand your desperate wait each month to see if you are pregnant, so if you can’t wait, but are finding that you are buying several tests each month, it’s important to start saving money on them!
The cost of pregnancy test kits
For a start, try buying your test kits online. There are several online companies, such as Test In Private and Access Diagnostics, which sell fertility, ovulation and pregnancy test kits at good rates. (You can get multipacks which come down to as little at 69p each if you buy them as a five or ten pack). As we say, this might tempt too much ‘test watching’, but it’s totally your choice.
The big names – like Clearblue and Predictor – do cost more. Expect to pay at least £3.75 for a Boots kit and about £3.90 for the other big names, when buying as a double pack. Individually, they can cost a lot more.
But all test kits (cheap or expensive) claim at least 99 per cent accuracy and are pretty reliable. Most of them these days detect as little as 10mIU of hCG (the pregnancy hormone) in your system, which, to give you a guide, rises to about 100mIU by the time your period is due, so they are all very sensitive.
If you are checking which to buy, see our Buyer’s Guide to Pregnancy Test Kits for more about how they work.
You can get ‘digital’ test kits. These are no more sensitive than regular tests, but you get a read out which says ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant’, if you fear that a pink line or a blue dot etc is not clear enough for you. The digital ones are usually over £10!