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Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor: A Review Based On Our Experiences

Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor Review

If you have had trouble conceiving a baby or just want to understand your fertility cycle better, you may have heard of the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor.

My wife and I bought one last fall with the intent of using it initially to help us get pregnant and then later as an additional tool in our practice of Natural Family Planning.

Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for a long-term review, we were blessed to conceive our third child the first month that we used the fertility monitor.  However, we learned all about it, gained some experience using it, and I even made my first YouTube video to show the world what comes in the box when you buy a Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor!

How Does the Fertility Monitor Work?

In the most basic sense, the monitor uses urine samples to identify days of High Fertility and Peak Fertility.  Obviously, if you have sex on those days, especially the one or two Peak Fertility days, your chances of achieving pregnancy are greatly improved.

There are only a limited number of days during the menstrual cycle when sex can lead to pregnancy.  Conception is most likely to occur if you have intercourse on the day the ovaries release a new egg, which is called ovulation, or during the days leading up to it.  The fertility monitor tracks a woman’s level of estrogen and LH to predict when ovulation is approaching and indicate the day it has occurred (the Peak Fertility day).

The Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor prompts you on the days you need to take a urine sample.  This will be a total of ten tests per cycle for more “typical” cycle lengths, or it will be twenty tests for long or irregular cycles. When you start using the monitor, you’ll set a testing time window that needs to be maintained, though you can test up to three hours before or after the time you specify.  When you turn it on, the fertility monitor will tell you whether you need to test that day or not.

In general, the manufacturer recommends that the monitor be used by women with menstrual cycles lasting 21-42 days.  As you test for several cycles, the monitor begins to “learn” about your menstrual patterns, and the testing days will be better defined.

What’s in the Box?

The answer to this question is not much!  Here’s a short video I made to show what the monitor looks like and what you get when you buy one.

Our Experiences With the Monitor

When we started thinking about buying a monitor, I did a lot of research and was convinced that the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor was the single best ovulation tracker on the market.  We also spent a lot of time learning how it worked, which was aided by the understanding we’ve gained of fertility cycles through our practice of Natural Family Planning.

Like I said, we only used the monitor for one month before Bethany became pregnant (she’s due in July!).  As luck would have it, she had a crazy-long cycle that month of over 50 days, and we hit the max of 20 tests before she ever ovulated.  Of course, we knew what was going on since we were also using the sympto-thermal methods of NFP (which helps prove the point that NFP is not only for those with nice, regular cycles).

With this super-long cycle, the monitor basically stopped testing and would have waited until we told it her period had started.  It would have then started over testing the next cycle with the “knowledge” of her long menstrual cycle taken into consideration.

Of course, that next cycle is several months away at this point since we successfully conceived a baby.  However, even based on our limited first-hand experience, I can tell you that the fertility monitor was very easy to use, and I am confident that it is effective in identifying the days of high fertility and communicating this simply to couples hoping to achieve pregnancy.

And that’s what it’s all about when choosing a fertility monitor.

We plan to use ours again after the baby arrives and Bethany’s hormones calm down.  We are hopeful that it will become an additional tool in our practice of Natural Family Planning moving forward, and we plan to learn more about this approach by studying up on the Marquette Model of NFP, which includes the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor in its methods.

UPDATE: It’s now mid-2012, and we’ve been using our monitor for nearly two years since the birth of our daughter Avery.  We LOVE it!  The Marquette Model has been a real Godsend, and this monitor has made it so much easier to track Bethany’s fertility each month.

Where Can You Buy One (and Learn More)?

We did a lot of research on fertility monitors, and I can tell you that you will find the best price and most dependable service by simply buying your monitor through good ole Amazon.  This is not a cheap investment in fertility awareness, and I would encourage you to stick with a trusted resource.  Amazon also periodically runs sales on the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor.

Please note: When you buy a monitor, it does not come with the testing sticks that you’ll need.  And you’ll have to continue buying testing sticks as long as you are using the monitor.

Fortunately, Amazon offers a combination package where you get both the monitor and test sticks to get you started at a slightly reduced price.

When you visit the Amazon page for the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor, you’ll also find customer reviews and additional information on the product.  I always find this additional peer feedback to be helpful when considering such an important purchase.

Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor ReviewClearblue Easy Testing SticksClearblue Easy Fertility Combo

If you do decide to buy a fertility monitor or testing sticks, I’d really appreciate it if you used the links above.  For referring you to their site, I get a (very) small commission from Amazon and your price is unaffected.  Thanks in advance for your continued support of Engaged Marriage!

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About Dustin

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

Comments

  1. We’ve been using the Marquette Model and the monitor for 6 years and I don’t think we would do it any other way! I agree, the monitor is SO easy to use. A bit of an investment, but worth it in my opinion.

    Dustin – something to keep in mind for after the baby comes… The Marquette Model does have instruction on how to use the monitor while breastfeeding, even before cycles return. If you haven’t seen it already you can find it on their site.

    • Angela, I’m going to look up the Marquette Model for NFP while nursing. I am due in September, and I would feel much more confident with NFP during the first year if I had an actual method of measuring the hormones in my body. My temps always look like an earthquake and other signs are very strange, too, so I would rather spend the same amount I would pay for a minipill copay each month on testing sticks and know for certain when the luteinizing hormone is on the rise.

    • Thanks so much, Angela! This is something we will definitely be learning more about over the next few months. For someone like us who is already trained in NFP (through the Couple-to-Couple League’s sympto-thermal method), do you think we can learn all we need about the Marquette Model by reading on their site?

      • Dustin – You certainly couldn’t learn the entire method in an effective manner from the site, but going from sympto-thermal to sypmto-thermal+monitor is a pretty easy step. At that point it’s really just another cross check. As for the breastfeeding part, I do believe that all that information is on the site. What they outline is how to use the monitor before cycles return. Many NFPers will already be doing what they can to watch mucus and temps while breastfeeding, so again… another cross check. IMO, though, the monitor would be more effective at detecting ovulation before cycles return since breastfeeding can really mess with mucus. I’ve never personally used the monitor in this manner (my cycles return crazy quick even with breastfeeding – if that’s not TMI), so I can’t speak from experience though.

        • Thanks, Angela. We will definitely be looking into this more, for self-education if nothing else. And practically nothing is TMI around here. ;)

          • Batrice Adcock says:

            Dustin, all of the Marquette educational info. is on their website except for ind-depth info. about temp. taking, which a Marquette trained instructor can provide you with.

            The key to looking for the return of fertility in the postpartum period is looking for the return of mucus, which can be precipitated by longer periods between breastfeeding/introduction of solids etc.

        • Lilly fartaj says:

          Dear Angela and Dustin,

          I have a 7 month old whom I am breastfeeding until he self weens. My husband and I would like to get pregnant again sooner than later due to my age (late 30s). We used the Clearblue Fertility Monitor to help conceive our first child and we would like to use it again to help with the 2nd. But I have not started my cycles again due to breastfeeding. I searched the Marquette website for the outline you mentioned above about how to use the monitor when not in cycle and I could not find anything.

          I would greatly appreciate any help or insight you can give me into how to use the CBFM under the circumstance of not having a period yet. Thanks!

          • Lilly,

            Here’s the direct link. On the left side should be a menu with “breastfeeding protocol for fertility monitor” and “breastfeeding protocol for mucus” as the first two links. http://nfp.marquette.edu/sc_intro.php

            Ultimately, you’re at the mercy of your cycles and when they choose to return. Are you night nursing? If you want to try (no guarantees) to speed the return of your cycles you could try working towards eliminating feeds between midnight and 5am. Nursing in that time frame can be especially helpful in keeping your cycles at bay.

  2. We used this fertility monitor in conceiving our first two children. (The third was unplanned, so that’s why we didn’t for her. LOL) I say “we” loosely, as my husband wasn’t the one involved with the monitor beyond knowing when I was at my peak fertility!

    Like you, I found it to be very easy to use – and, more importantly, to understand. I had tried OPKs (ovulation predictor kits), and found them to be too difficult to understand. Is that line the right color, or should it be darker … does this mean I’m fertile NOW or in a few days … and so on. The Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor took ALL of the questions out. Even though we weren’t so lucky as to get pregnant on the first try, we knew that our timing was perfect and it was only a matter of time.

    I just had to chime in and say I agree! :-)

    Oh, and congratulations on the pregnancy! <3
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Winner Announcement =-.

  3. Please note that I am posting this comment on behalf of reader Sarah who was not able to post it on her own due to an internet filter and the word “sex” :).

    Dustin,

    I just wanted to add my two cents worth to the conversation. In terms of conceiving (and avoiding for that matter), Creighton Model Fertility Care (CrMS)is a less expensive option than the Clear Blue Monitor in most areas (for those who cannot afford several of those test sticks) and also has documented that using the CrMS is extremely accurate in finding days of high fertility. In couples of normal fertility 76% achieved pregnancy within the first month, 90% by the 3rd month and 98% by the 6th month.

    There is also the possibility of false reads from the monitor. I know of a personal friend who has been using the CB Fertility monitor for a while so they time relations around when the monitor says she is fertile. However, she has mentioned to me that her mucus dries up before the monitor tells her that she is of “peak” fertility. And we all know that you can’t conceive without the presence of cervical mucus. I know there may be several issues in this particular case, but I just wanted to put it out there.

    There are far less expensive ways of achieving pregnancy than using the CB Fertility Monitor. And I will state that I am completely biased. I do not trust fertility monitors over my own observations or even in conjunction with my own observations.

    I do know that the Marquette model has given many couples (especially postpartum) an added “safety feature” in using the fertility monitor. But I also know the method is not for me and my husband mainly because I trust my own observations.

    Honestly, IMHO, with the knowledge of the shared fertility between wife and husband using NFP, I see the fertility monitor as a complete waste of money.

    Again, just my two cents.

    • Thanks for the great comment, Sarah!

      I totally respect and understand your position. The Creighton Model is mucus-observation only, correct?

      We actually use the Couple-to-Couple League (CCL) approach now, which is sympto-thermal (mucus + temperature). It’s been great for us for 5+ years, and we have no “need” to add a fertility monitor into the mix. In fact, we conceived all three of our children within two months of trying using only our CCL approach.

      However, we are interested in trying it out in conjunction with our current method with the hope that it will provide additional confirmation or perhaps reduce our Phase II (abstaining) time when we are trying to avoid pregnancy. If I understand it correctly, the Marquette Model actually only uses the monitor as a supplement, so it would include mucus+temperature+monitor (typically for 10 days each cycle).

      I think the majority of those reading this review will be interested in using the monitor for achieving pregnancy outside of the practice of natural family planning. But for those using NFP, I think this discussion is awesome! :)

      • Dustin – From what I’ve been reading about the new Marquette study it looks like they are making Marquette Model literally only the monitor. The study puts you in one of two groups… mucus only or monitor only. That’s certainly not the way it’s always been. When we learned the method 6 years ago it was mucus+temp+monitor. The combination of all 3 was one of the main reasons we chose Marquette over other methods. But, from what I’ve heard from study participants it’s pretty much impossible to go monitor only after you’ve been charting mucus and temp.

        • That’s really interesting, Angela. I haven’t yet delved into their site, but the “third-party” descriptions I found give the mucus+temp+monitor approach. I’m sure they are doing the study to see if they can go monitor-only since it seems so much simpler. From what you’re hearing, though, perhaps they aren’t going to find that it’s the way to go.

          • Batrice Adcock says:

            Clarification from a Marquette Method trained nurse instructor:

            The Monitor alone does not give an early enough warning of the beginning of the fertile window for purposes of avoiding pregnancy, and it is possible that in some cycles it will not detect the LH surge.

            So, it is never used alone! In the monitor only group, there is an algorithm as well, based on past cycles, so that you start abstaining on a certain early cycle day, independent of data the monitor is giving you.

            In my opinion, it is highly valuable for a couple to have knowledge of the woman’s biological signs of fertility (mucus/temp. especially). Marquette gives women this option with excellent education. A couple can add the monitor if they would like for increased confidence, especially in special circumstances such as postpartum. It is not necessary though, as mucus only method can be as much as 99% effective, and symptothermal up to 99.6% effective. I believe it is good for people to have options! Some people like the fact that the monitor is high-tech and objective. And, some people are put off by checking their mucus. Others have trouble getting an accurate read from their temp.

          • Thank you so much, Batrice! Your clarification is very much valued, and I appreciate your willingness to always take the time to help myself and the others in this community with NFP-related questions.

            I’m anxious to spend time learning more about the Marquette Model!

  4. NorCalRN says:

    Wow- thanks for posting this and for all the comments! I have heard of this monitor before, but never looked into it. I am so intrigued by the NFP methods/teaching and so fascinated by all of it! Haha! I’m actually more interested at the moment in the preventing pregnancy portion, as my fiance and I are definitely not ready for babies! ;) Could the above mentioned NFP method using the monitor as a supplement be just as useful and ACCURATE for preventing pregnancy as for planning it?

    Thanks again! LOVING these discussions! Our bodies are so crazy-fascinating! :)

    • Absolutely it is! We’ve been using it for 6 years (5 married) and wouldn’t be doing NFP any other way.

      Check out Marquette’s website – which I’m sure Dustin linked to above. They’re actually still looking for people to participate in their study (but you could be put in the monitor group or the mucus only group, I think it’s totally random).

    • NorCalRN,

      If you haven’t spent time looking into Natural Family Planning (of which the Marquette Model is one approach), I’d strongly encourage you do so. I have written quite a bit on this site, and I’d also suggest checking out the resources on another blog: http://www.NFPWorksBlog.com

      To answer your question, we’ve used NFP (CCL method, no monitor) for the past 6 years and spaced our children *exactly* as we had hoped. When practiced well, these methods are every bit as effective as any artificial birth control.

      Plus, if you are an RN as your name suggests, you should be all over this stuff! ;)

  5. Dustin ~ Out of curiosity, have you read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” – it’s the book for FAM (Fertility Awareness Method), which is pretty similar to NFP. It’s what we used in trying to conceive (with the added help of the monitor), but weren’t so successful with AVOIDING pregnancy! LOL (It’s the self-control required during the fertile period that did us in! ;-) )
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Winner Announcement =-.

    • I have not read that particular book, but I’d like to someday just for the added perspective. I am familiar with FAM, which is basically a secular version of NFP that “allows” for the use of artificial contraception during fertile periods. That part of it doesn’t fit with our beliefs, so it wouldn’t be for us.

      However, even if we were fine with contraception, I don’t really see the wisdom in using it when you *know* you are highly fertile if you really don’t want to conceive a baby. Contraceptives fail, so using them when failure could very likely result in pregnancy doesn’t seem so wise. Is that what happened in your case or were you going “no contraceptives” but just didn’t make it through the abstaining days? :)

      • It was the latter – just not being careful enough. Neither of us liked the contraceptives, and I think that’s why we didn’t use anything. I was still nursing my son, so I (obviously) wasn’t on anything – and wouldn’t be. I hated the pill. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t change a thing – our youngest is such an amazing, wonderful little girl! :-)

        I didn’t realize that the use of contraception was the main difference between NFP and FAM. I was asking more simply because of the similarities between what I knew and what I saw you mention above.
        .-= Heather´s last blog ..Testing a Music Feature =-.

        • Batrice Adcock says:

          The science that FAM and NFP are based on is the same. When FAM users use barriers, however, the actual effectiveness of the barrier is less than advertised if they only use them during the fertile time. The effectiveness of any barrier is based on an average over the entire menstrual cycle.

          It is an excellent book–it was part of my course materials as I was training as a Marquette Model instructor. Weschler goes into a lot of depth explaining different circumstance/charting patterns from the norm. So, it is a very helpful resource book for me.

  6. NorCalRN says:

    Angela- Thanks!! That is super helpful to know. I’m actually very ready for pregnancy, but my fiance is NOT. Not only is he an Engineer (so needs the % and stats of birth control pills to trust their effectiveness) but he is super paranoid about getting pregnant on “accident”. We’ve been together for 8 years, so like I said- I’m ready. :)

    Dustin- I AM a Nurse, and have always been super fascinated by the reproductive systems and how intricate and amazing our bodies really are. I’m also an advocate of Homebirth and Natural birthing methods, so going hormone-free and natural with family planning and “prevention” Totally appeal to me!! I’m LOVING all this info!

    Batrice- How can I get more info on becoming an Instructor?? That really appeals to me too, for the future. :) I’m not Catholic though; does that matter?!

    Thanks Guys!
    NorCalRN aka Erica ;)

  7. don’t really see the wisdom in using it when you *know* you are highly fertile if you really don’t want to conceive a baby. Contraceptives fail, so using them when failure could very likely result in pregnancy doesn’t seem so wise.

    tahx for all

  8. Hi, I’ve heard about this device before but never really look into it. Perhaps I will get one for myself. Thanks.

  9. Help with Clearblue Fertility monitor’s testing window.

    say my bleeding started today afternoon at around 1 o’clock,I understand that Ineed to press m at around 6o’clock tomorrow morning.

    Do I need to adjust testing window at the same time or its automatically set once I pressed ‘m’ on the monitor.

    • Dustin says:

      Hi Raaji,

      I’ll defer to Clearblue’s instructions for an official response. However, the way we’ve done this is to press “m” the following day during your testing window as you said, and this sets the time of the testing window. If the bleeding is light the first day, we just leave it as Day One the next morning. If the bleeding was heavier, we hold down “m” until the “2” shows, which means you’re telling the monitor it’s actually the start of Day Two of your cycle.

      I hope that helps!

      Dustin

  10. Hi Dustin,
    I was just wondering if you all are still using the Clearblue Monitor. I am currently pregnant, but after our baby is born, I was interested in trying out the Marquette Method to avoid pregnancy for awhile. I like the cross-check of the monitor, but it does seem like an expensive purchase, so I want to get as much feedback about it as I can first. Did you just read the “quick instructions” on the website in order to get the method down, or did you go to other resources as well. Thanks for any input that you might have!

    • Hi Jenny,

      Yes, we are still using the monitor and have been very happy with it. It is a pretty expensive purchase, and then there is an ongoing expense since you have to continue to buy testing sticks. However, for us, it’s been worth it.

      We have just been following the instructions that Marquette University publishes on their website:

      http://nfp.marquette.edu/inst_pregnancy_monitor.php

      Good Luck!

      Dustin

      • Thank you! I have heard several good reviews about using this, especially in terms of using this method while breastfeeding. I am thinking that the initial expense is worth it.

  11. Can the Clearblue Easy fertility monitor be used by women who don’t get their period but have the symptoms of ovulation every month? If so, how would you start using it if you don’t have a CD1?

    • Hi Cathy,

      This is a fantastic question, but unfortunately I just don’t have an answer for you. However, I strongly suggest you contact the folks at Marquette University, and I’m sure they will be very helpful in answering your question. You can find them at nfp.marquette.edu

      Thanks,

      Dustin

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    [...] Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor: A Review From Experience … [...]

  2. [...] bought one ourselves, and you can check out my Clearblue Easy review for more information on our experiences.  It’s a bit pricey, so perhaps designating it as [...]

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