When you are trying to get pregnant using IVF, it is likely that you have used every method possible to get a positive result – and each month, you were still disappointed. So, at this stage, you are even more anxious to find out if in-vitro actually worked to get you pregnant.
But how quickly can you get tested for pregnancy – and how can you ensure that you won’t be getting a false positive? Does a standard home pregnancy test work with IVF? There are so many questions that need to be answered – and when you are so excited about getting pregnant, you need to get every ground covered.
How Early Can a Home Pregnancy Test Be Done After IVF?
When undergoing IVF, it is important to remember that you should not do a pregnancy test too early. If you do so, there’s a 50% chance that you’ll either get a false positive or a negative (which will later turn into a positive).
To put it simply, an IVF fertility clinic will do pregnancy hormone injections before the embryo is placed, to aid the growing follicles in their development. It may take up to a full week until this hormone injection is eliminated from your system – and since this pregnancy hormone is picked up by most home pregnancy tests, it might show up as a false positive.
On the opposite end, if you do the test too early, there’s a chance that your natural pregnancy hormone did not yet get a chance to register. This might lead to a negative when you might be well on your way for a positive.
A home pregnancy test may show accurate results after being taken 10 days post-transfer – but for the best results, it is recommended that you wait for about two weeks. Most IVF clinics will schedule an appointment for you, and your pregnancy will be determined by a blood test. Even if you take a home pregnancy test, it is still recommended that you go through your appointment.
Home Pregnancy Test vs. Home Test
We’ve had home pregnancy tests around ever since the mid-‘70s. There are many different brands that claim to be the fastest and the most efficient, but in truth, they are all based on the same premise: stripes that, once covered in urine, will make a line appear and tell you if you are pregnant or not.
The issue with these tests is that, for accurate results, you will have to follow the directions thoroughly. A study that took place in 1998 proved that the accuracy of the tests is a mere 75% – and it was simply because people did not understand how to use them correctly. Had they taken the test at the right time and followed the exact directions, they would have gotten better results.
In this case, what other alternatives do you have? Well, there is also the blood test – which has actually proven to be more efficient. While there is a chance of getting a false positive (when you are not pregnant) or a false negative (when you are indeed pregnant), there is a much smaller chance of that happening when you are using a blood test.
What Can Trigger a False Reading on a Test?
There are various reasons why you might get a false reading on an IVF pregnancy test. The most common reasons for this include:
- Bar Test Timing
The most common reason for a false reading on a pregnancy test was and still remains bad timing for taking the test. If you do the test too early, there is a chance that there won’t be enough hCG hormones (the pregnancy hormone) in your urine to actually show accurate results after IVF. If not enough time has passed, there won’t be enough hormones to show on the test – which means the result might turn out a false negative.
- Presence of Fertility Medication
As mentioned, there is also the issue of fertility treatment during IVF. If you take the test too early, there is a chance that you might have remains from the fertility injections in your system – the ones you take to trigger ovulation. Therefore, this may trigger a false positive.
- Expired Kits or Incorrect Reading
If the pregnancy test kit that you have used is expired, there is also a chance that you might get a false reading. You will also need to ensure that you stay within the 3-5-minute window – or whatever window is stated in your pregnancy test. If you miss that window, there is a high chance that you might get a false reading. For this reason, it is recommended that you take multiple pregnancy tests (from different brands) in order to get a more accurate result.
Why Are False Readings a Problem with IVF Pregnancy Tests?
There are several problems when it comes to getting a false reading on your IVF pregnancy test. No matter if you get a false positive or a false negative, this might lead to inappropriate treatment – and even its discontinuation.
Most of the time, women are on progesterone treatments following the fertility procedure – and if they get a false positive on a home pregnancy test, they might discontinue the treatment. For a newly implanted egg, this might actually be detrimental. This is why it is recommended that you also take a blood test, even if your home results are negative.
After IVF, waiting for the pregnancy test results may be agonizing. In vitro fertilization is in itself a very emotional and stressful time that is clad with hope and anxiety. With the awareness that it is easier said than done, an IVF patient should wait until their actual clinical schedule, in which they determine the pregnancy through a blood test.
A false reading at home could lead to disappointment, confusion, and sadness – which might cause the patient to stop the treatment. On the other hand, a false positive can give a lot of hope – which will eventually be crushed when the actual test results come in. Out of the two, we can’t say for sure which is the worst.
How to Get Through the Wait for the Results
The wait for the IVF pregnancy test results can be very rough, stressful, irritating – and practically, a living nightmare for both you and your partner. In order to get through the wait, here are some tips to follow (and remember) before your appointment to have your blood drawn.
- Keep a Positive Note
Once you have gone through IVF, there is a high chance that you will experience a series of mood swings – as well as a fair amount of irritation. In this case, you must stay optimistic so that you are actually able to get through the day without losing your mind. Just remember that even if you are continuously stressing and thinking about the results, it won’t do anything to actually change its outcome.
- The Embryo Won’t Be Falling Out
Many women seem to believe the myth that embryo will simply “fall out” after the in vitro procedure. However, that is exactly what it is: a myth. Once the embryo is embedded into the walls of your uterus, nothing will cause it to fall out of there.
- Avoid the Progesterone
Unless it is actually recommended, during the waiting time, you should avoid taking any shots, crinone, and progesterone. This may lead to symptoms similar to pregnancy and ultimately, to a false reading of your IVF pregnancy test. Even a blood pregnancy test may give a false reading if you continue to take pregnancy hormones.
- Try to Keep Yourself Busy
While you are in your waiting period, consider doing some things that will keep you distracted and entertained. Have some friends or company to talk to or take a vacation with your significant other. Avoid people who are unsympathetic and try to surround yourself with those that give off a positive vibe. This way, you should be able to get through even the most difficult times.
- Take the Test with Your Partner
If possible, try to take the IVF pregnancy test together with your partner. Talk about every possibility and discuss what you will do no matter if the results are positive or negative. Being on each other’s side will allow you to get through the nightmare called waiting.
There is no actual difference between a regular pregnancy test and an IVF pregnancy test: you either pee on a stick or you have your blood drawn. It’s what you do during the waiting time that matters.
Bear in mind that you should not take any rushed decisions, regardless of the results of the test. Discuss every step that you take with your doctor from the fertility clinic – and remember that every question you have, they will try to answer them in the best way they can. Now, all you have to do is wait for the results to come in. Best of luck for your IVF journey!