But by the mid-80s, reasonably accurate home ovulation predictor kits hit the market, simplifying the process of pinpointing peak fertility, often with the hope of getting a positive pregnancy test.
Here, have a look at how these old-school ovulation tests worked! (PS: You can see some faster and simpler modern-day versions here.)
How ovulation predictors worked in the 80s
Adapted from the Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio) April 24, 1987
Home ovulation prediction kits predict the time of ovulation through measurement of a chemical change that occurs prior to the release of the egg.
A surge in the luteinizing hormone (LH), which starts 24 to 36 hours in advance of ovulation, usually in the early morning hours, is unaffected by amount of sleep, emotions or other factors that can disrupt basal body’ temperature.
Ovulation prediction kits employ a complex technical process to detect the change in LH through urinalysis.
At present [as of the 1980s], there are at least three different kits on the market.
OvuSTICK, including nine tests in a one-month kit, is a 12-step process requiring careful attention to instructions. Users collect urine to test throughout the day; the surge therefore can be detected in its first stages. The kit is easy to use: A stick immersed in the urine sample turns dark blue color when the surge has taken place.
Ovutime, another kit, is nearly identical to OvuSTICK, although its packaging differs slightly and it costs less.
A third brand, the First Response Ovulation Prediction Kit, is even less expensive and less complicated, though it too requires some attention to timing and details. Surging is monitored by adding color-changing chemicals to a series of urine samples.
In this test, only the morning’s urine is collected, with the goal of identifying the surge’s peak rather than its onset. The kit thus predicts ovulation only 12-24 hours in advance.
Vintage 80s Ovutime home ovulation predictor test kits (1986)
If you want to become pregnant… New Ovutime accurately pinpoints the time you can conceive
Knowing when you ovulate can increase your chance of becoming pregnant. And now, with new OVUTIME you can predict when you’re going to ovulate up to 36 hours in advance, so you can plan when you’re most likely to conceive.
OVUTIME is a urine test method that physicians, laboratories and fertility clinics use. But it’s so easy, we’ve made it available for you to use at home.
OVUTIME detects the hormone LH (luteinizing hormone) that triggers ovulation. LH surges (or increases) just before you ovulate, and you can detect its presence in your urine. Simply test your urine once a day for 6 or 9 consecutive days each month with special OVUTIME Colorsticks.
The Colorstick will turn dark blue when LH surges. And only OVUTIME contains a control test called the “Surge Guide” to help ensure that your prediction is accurate.
If your daily Colorstick turns a darker blue than the Surge Guide, you are likely to ovulate within the next 36 hours. It’s that easy to accurately predict ovulation…unlike the temperature method which gives you information too late for you to use.
And OVUTIME offers both a 6-day and 9-day kit to choose from, depending on the regularity of your cycle. When you really want to become pregnant, turn to the accuracy of new OVUTIME. The test method doctors use can help change your life.
Vintage First Response Ovulation Predictors (1987)
Michael Bascones is living proof… FIRST RESPONSE ovulation predictor can help women become pregnant (1987)
When your heart’s set on having a baby… First Response Ovulation Predictor Test predicts the day you’re most able to become pregnant
First Response can be a big help when you want to have your baby. That’s because there’s only one day in the month a woman can become pregnant — the day she ovulates.
First Response predicts that day in advance, so you and your husband know when to try. This is very important if you’re having difficulty conceiving a baby, or don’t want to spend months trying.
Fertility tracking & conception testing: QTest can make it easier (1989)
Life in the eighties is loaded with stress, 25-hour schedules in 24-hour days. Stress can throw off your ovulation cycle, even make you miss a month or two.
Things like delayed childbearing and The Pill can also affect your normal cycle. So pinning down the one or two days a month when you can get pregnant could be very helpful.
QTest for Ovulation Prediction is as easy to use as a pregnancy test. With our kit, you test up to five days in a row, any time of day, to detect the ovulation hormone. QTest clearly tells you when to start, even if you have irregular periods. And there’s an 800 number to answer any questions.
QTest is goof proof. A built-in performance control assures you each day that you’ve done the test correctly. QTest gives you results in 35 minutes and is proven 96% accurate. So when the test stick turns a dramatic dark blue, you know you’re going to ovulate.
QTest lets you know up to two days in advance of ovulation, so you have time to relax and plan a special moment that may have very special results. QTest tells you in advance when you’re able to conceive.
QTest for Ovulation Prediction is $25 to $30 at your pharmacy. Prices may vary in your area.
Clearplan Easy 5-minute ovulation test stick (1990)
Introducing The First One Step 5 Minute Ovulation Test
Getting pregnant isn’t always as simple as it seems, but now there’s an advanced test that makes ovulation prediction easier. New Clearplan Easy.
It’s the easiest ovulation predictor anywhere. You can only become pregnant a few days a month, around the time you ovulate. So in one simple step, Clearplan Easy identifies those days. Up to 24 hours ahead of time.
Just put the tip of the stick in your urine stream, wait five minutes, and read the result in the windows. There’s never been anything like it. No messy vials, droppers, or cups. So accurate, even doctors can use it.
Conceive brand Ovulation prediction test kits (1994)
Simplify conception. Family planning has never been easier. Conceive, the newest line of fertility products featuring fast, accurate, one-step ovulation prediction kits and pregnancy tests.
Conceive… because timing is everything
Clearplan Easy Fertility Monitor – Ovulation predictor (1999)
If You’re Trying To Get Pregnant, Timing Is Everything
With today’s busy schedules, working mothers trying to conceive need to know what are the best days to make love. Now there’s an advanced new product, the ClearPlan Easy”‘ Fertility Monitor, which can identify more days when intercourse can lead to pregnancy. [See some of today’s versions here.]
How the ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor helps maximize your chances of conceiving:
• Identifies typically up to 6 days of fertility each cycle, including ovulation
• Provides clear, objective results — easy to use, easy to read
• Counts the days of your cycle and tells you which days to test
• Works naturally, without drugs or invasive devices
• Suitable for women with regular or irregular cycles (between 21 and 42 days)
• Stores your personal fertility information
• Lasts for years … to help you plan future pregnancies
• Available without prescription
A revolutionary new device, the ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor provides you with daily information about your Fertility Status and helps maximize your chances of conception. It is the first palm-sized electronic system, based solely on hormone monitoring, that can identify typically up to six days of fertility each cycle.