Women who are desperate to conceive can find out if they are ovulating – by spitting on a revolutionary fertility kit shaped like a lipstick.
The £40 device uses saliva to pinpoint the time of the month when a woman is most fertile so that broody mums-to-be know when they are most likely to fall pregnant.
Traditional fertility predictor kits use urine to test for an increase in lutenising hormone (LH) which takes place one or two days before ovulation.
But the new Maybe Baby tester measures oestrogen and salt levels found in traces of women’s saliva which surges when they are most fertile.
Boffins believe the saliva test is 98 per cent accurate and could end the traditional and, often demeaning ‘pee-on-a-stick’ method.
Women spit on, or lick, a tiny microscopic lens before putting the stick back in its container.
After 10-15 minutes, the user holds the reusable device up to one eye and presses a button to activate a light.
If the lens shows pebbles and dots then the woman is not fertile but if small fern leaves appear then the woman has two or three days until ovulation.
A full pattern of fern leaves on the lens means the woman is ovulating at that moment.
The simple test kit, which is the first of its kind to be sold in the UK, uses the results of research undertaken by scientists in Italy in 1957.
Experts at the University of Turin discovered that when oestrogen is present in dried saliva it forms a pattern resembling fern leaves – which can be clearly seen under a microscope.
The new tester will hit the shelves of 546 Lloyds Pharmacy stores across the UK at the start of next month.
Lyn McGoohan, a spokeswoman for Maybe Baby, said: “The one thing that a lot of people don’t realise is that just before ovulation is the best time for women to try to conceive.
“Because you can use it every day, women can chart their cycle and that’s really important because it’s not black and white.
“Women, and I include myself, have no idea how little they know about their fertility cycle.
“If you use it every day then you’re not going to miss when you’re ovulating.”
Maybe Baby is currently available to buy on rowlandspharmacy.co.uk.