Why Should You Avoid Taking a Home Pregnancy Test after IVF? By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on May 16, 2019

A pregnancy testIn vitro fertilization, or IVF, can improve patients’ chances of having a successful pregnancy, and it can assist non-traditional couples or single parents in having a child of their own.

At Houston Fertility Center in Houston, TX, Dr. Sonja Kristiansen and our team understand how anxious patients can feel when waiting to find out if they are pregnant. Although it can be tempting, we advise patients to avoid taking a home pregnancy test after IVF.

IVF Medications Affect Your Hormone Levels

During the IVF treatment process, women are given various fertility medications, including the hCG trigger shot. This shot forces ovulation to occur so that your doctor can retrieve your eggs. The shot raises the level of hCG in your system.

The Accuracy of Home Pregnancy Tests after IVF

Home pregnancy tests look for a certain level of hCG in urine to confirm pregnancy. However, since IVF patients have hCG in their system from the ovulation trigger shot, a home pregnancy test could result in a positive test result, even if you are not pregnant.

Because home pregnancy tests may be performed too early and do not measure the actual amount of hCG in the body, they are simply not accurate after IVF. We recommend that women avoid the expense of home pregnancy tests and wait to undergo a pregnancy blood test.

How Soon Will I Undergo a Blood Test?

Your blood test, which is called the beta hCG pregnancy test, is scheduled 14 days after your egg retrieval. If you underwent a day 5 embryo transfer, the pregnancy test will be about nine days later. If you underwent a day 3 embryo transfer, your blood test will be about 11 days later.

This blood test will measure the amount of hCG in your blood. These are considered standard hCG ranges for the first trimester of pregnancy:

  • 3 weeks: 5 - 50 mIU/mL
  • 4 weeks: 5 - 426 mIU/mL
  • 5 weeks: 18 - 7,340 mIU/mL
  • 6 weeks: 1,080 - 56,500 mIU/mL
  • 7 to 8 weeks: 7,650 - 229,000 mIU/mL
  • 9 to 12 weeks: 25,700 - 288,000 mIU/mL

It is important to note that the amount of hCG can vary widely from patient to patient. That is why we perform multiple blood tests, a couple of days apart, to see if your hCG levels are rising as expected. At this point in your pregnancy, we typically expect to see hCG levels double every two to three days.

If we see three blood tests showing a normal rise in hCG levels, we can wait to perform a sonogram at six to seven weeks to see if we can detect a healthy heartbeat.

Pregnancy is a process that takes time. While it can be frustrating to wait to learn the results of your IVF treatment, all you can do is be patient, stay calm, and follow all of our post-treatment instructions such as avoiding caffeine, exercise, and stress.

Contact Our Practice

To find out if IVF is right for you, and to learn more about the treatment process, contact Houston Fertility Center online today. You can also call us at (713) 862-6181.

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Dr. Sonja Kristiansen

Houston Fertility Center

Dr. Sonja Kristiansen is the founder and Medical Director of Houston Fertility Center. She is a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist Infertility (REI) specialist who is proud to help hopeful parents fulfill their dreams of having children. Our center is affiliated with the:

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Texas Medical Association

We provide convenient care for patients from greater Houston and visitors from out of town. For more information about our services, contact our office online or call (713) 225-5375 today.

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