Sheila and Glen McLendon have been married less than two years, but they knew they wanted to have kids long before that.

“We’ve always wanted kids and actually had names picked out since 2006, when we first got together,” says Glen, 27, a Summerville Fire Department engineer.

The couple started trying to conceive shortly after get-ting married nearly two years ago.

“After about a year, I said something’s not right, and I wanted to see a doctor,” says Sheila, 25, a 911 dispatcher.

So she met with Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, who, after asking a few questions about McLendon’s cycles, recommended that she use an over-the-counter ovulation predictor kit to help pinpoint optimal fertility.

Sheila, who had not heard of the test, bought two. She needed only one.

The McLendons are expecting their first child, who they will name Alivia Rose, around Valentine’s Day.

“We’re both very excited,” says Glen.

Inexpensive, accurate

Gleaton says that while ovulation kits have been available for more than five years, many of her patients did not know they existed.

“It’s a great tool for patients and a preliminary step before getting help with fertility,” says Gleaton.

Ovulation tests are among an array of over-the-counter, at-home products available but not widely known today. Others include tests for blood-alcohol levels, steroid use, diabetes, paternity, prostate-specific antigen and HIV.

According to the National Institutes of Health, ovulation kits rarely provide false positives. In other words, the kits are very accurate at predicting ovulation. Results are less reliable for women ages 40 or older.

Cheaper than drugs

Ovulation kits are relatively inexpensive, ranging in price from about $12 for store brands to $20 for major labels, but are good for only one cycle.

According to the National Institutes of Health, ovulation kits work by detecting a rise in “luteinizing hormone” in the urine.

A rise in the hormone, also known as lutropin, signals the ovary to release the egg.

Each kit includes five to seven sticks, typically needed to test for several days to detect the lutropin surge. Patients must urinate on the stick or place the stick into urine collected in a sterile container.

The NIH also notes that a positive result means ovulation should take place within 24 to 36 hours, but that may not be the case for all women.