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Thursday, May 23, 2013

When should I test for pregnancy after embryo transfer?

The two week wait ( 2ww) is one of the most exciting as well as one of the most emotionally draining phases of an IVF cycle.  You are eagerly waiting to know what has happened to your embryos – did they implant or not ? The doctor’s done his best – now  it’s all upto you ! How well will your body
perform ? Most  IVF clinics want you to wait 14 days after the egg collection before doing a pregnancy test (a test which detects the HCG hormone produced by the cells of the developing embryo !)  But you can do a pregnancy test much earlier too. A blood test might tell you whether your embryo implanted or not as early as 7 days after the embryo transfer.  Very sensitive home pregnancy tests ( which detect the HCG hormone in urine ) are also available. They detect HCG even at very low levels – as little as 25 mIU/ml. Such tests appear to be a boon for women who cannot wait to know their result – those who cannot bear the suspense. But such tests are a bane as well ! Sometimes , even if you get a positive pregnancy test at home , or if you detect the HCG hormone in your blood earlier than 14 days past transfer, when you go in for the definitive test (14 days after egg collection) you might end up with a negative result. This can be heart-breaking , because all the dreams you built because of a positive pregnancy test will be shattered.  A positive pregnancy test which later become negative can happen because of two reasons :

  • Chemical pregnancy – your embryo tried to implant , but failed to successfully embed into the lining
  • The HCG shot which you took for triggering ovulation was still in your body and the pregnancy test detected this HCG , which is why you got a false positive result !
Such false positive tests or short-lived positive pregnancy tests can cause enormous frustration ! 

You can also get a false negative if you test too early. As a result of this, you might spend the second half of your 2ww in tears, anger and disbelief – none of which will help your emotional well-being. Of course you will feel happy when you get a positive result 14 days after egg collection, but all the stress and negative emotions you go through because of the first negative pregnancy test result can make your 2ww  very unpleasant.

This is why it is wise to wait patiently for 14 days after egg collection before you can do a pregnancy test. 
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