IVF and Home Pregnancy Testing: Why There’s a Two-Week Wait
The “two-week wait,” the period after the transfer of embryos until you go for a blood pregnancy test, is a period when it seems time stands still. Waiting is an ordeal. And you start thinking about those home pregnancy tests at the corner drugstore.
The problem with taking the home pregnancy test during the two-week wait: It’s too early for an accurate result. If you don’t know whether the result is right or wrong, what have you gained? Unfortunately, this questionable result may set off a rollercoaster of emotions.
We understand that in vitro fertilization (IVF), the process in which the egg is fertilized outside of the body, has already been difficult. The wait is difficult. But now may be the time to take acalming breath and remember: conception takes time.
At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology in Los Angeles, a premier West Coast fertility center, we can explain IVF and the home pregnancy test, clarifying what you can expect and when.
Why Wait Two Weeks?
There’s a reason you need to wait two weeks for an accurate pregnancy test. Pregnancy tests measure the level of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), the pregnancy hormone. The body starts producing hCG when an embryo implants in the uterus. However, it takes about two weeks to produce enough hormone to be detected. Remember, the conception process takes time.
The problem with home pregnancy tests is that, if you take them early, the results are not reliably accurate. Early testing can result in a false positive or a false negative. And, since you have no idea if your results are accurate, testing is meaningless. Before two weeks, there is simply not enough hCG to accurately measure for pregnancy.
Of course, you may be wondering why you get a positive reading for pregnancy when you are not pregnant. The reason is that women undergoing fertility treatments are given hCG to trigger ovulation. Typically, traces of hCG remain in your system for eight to ten days after the trigger shot. If you take a pregnancy test early, residual hCG from the trigger shot will be picked up by the test and indicate you are pregnant when you are not, a false positive reading.
The other problem with early testing is getting a false negative result. Home pregnancy tests set a specific level of hCG in the urine to produce a positive reading. However, if the level of hCG in your urine has not yet reached that point, then the result will be negative, even if you are pregnant.
Beta hCG Blood Test
The Beta hCG Blood Test is the test your doctor will perform to determine if you are pregnant. Just like a home pregnancy test, it measures hCG. However, unlike home tests, the Beta test measures hCB levels in your blood rather than the urine and is more accurate. But, just like the home pregnancy test, the Beta test requires the two-week wait to ensure accuracy.
What’s Right for You?
Each person has their own opinion about what’s right for them when it comes to taking a home pregnancy test. Some do not want to ride a rollercoaster of emotions tied to questionable results. Others may feel taking home pregnancy tests gives them a sense of control.
If you have questions about what’s right for you or help in handling the two-week wait, please call.