The preferred pregnancy test after IVF treatment is a blood test to detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This hormone is produced by the embryo, and enters the blood soon after implantation.
If the test shows an HCG under 5 mIU/mlt then you are not pregnant. An HCG reading between 5-25 mIU/ml is said to be equivocal, meaning you could be pregnancy but a repeat test is required in a day or two. If you have an HCG level over 25 mIU/ml, you'd better get that nursery ready.
One of the main advantages of an HGC blood test is that the actual level of the HCG is measured. This can help give an indication as to whether the embryo is healthy, and that the pregnancy is progressing in a normal manner.
The HCG hormone can also be detected through a urine test, such as those typically those carried out at home. Although, these are relatively accurate, a blood test offers a more reliable result, particularly where the pregnancy has resulted from IVF treatment.
One of the few problems with HCG testing is that it can pick up biochemical pregnancies. These are were HCG levels increased but are still low, and no actual pregnancy is present. Biochemical pregnancies are relatively common after IVF treatment.
Another drawback of the HCG test is that a positive result indicates that a pregnancy is present in the body. It cannot provide information about the location of the pregnancy, therefore an ectopic pregnancy can be mistaken for a healthy pregnancy.
Vaginal ultrasound may also be used to test for pregnancy after IVF treatment. Ultrasound can detect a pregnancy just two days after a missed period. Ultrasound testing is particularly useful after IVF treatment because it provides information about the number of pregnancies as well as their location. As fertility treatment typically has a higher risk of multiple pregnancies, an early ultrasound can be crucial.
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