Assisted fertilization

When to take a pregnancy test after an embryo transfer?

When you undergo  assisted reproduction treatment , one of the most difficult things to deal with is waiting for the pregnancy response. Will all the path taken have borne fruit? After the transfer, when will I be able to take the pregnancy test to understand if my embryo (or embryos) have made it and are growing inside me?

We remind you that an  embryo transfer  can take place fresh, i.e. in the same stimulation cycle, or frozen, i.e. when the embryos are transferred in an ad hoc endometrial preparation cycle, after they have been frozen in a previous stimulation cycle.

When to take a pregnancy test after the transfer?

Once the outpatient transfer has been made, they will tell you to go back to the clinic/hospital 2 weeks later , to take a blood test for  beta hCG , i.e. the so-called pregnancy hormone .

However, we know very well that a couple is rarely able to wait all this time. The desire to have an answer after all the journey done is very strong and leads to performing a home pregnancy test on urine before the scheduled deadline .

There are very valid reasons to wait two weeks after the transfer . These are the so-called “false negatives” and “false positives”.

False negative pregnancy tests

A  false negative  is a pregnancy test that gives a negative result even though you are pregnant.

Why does this happen? Because the test is performed too early, i.e. too close to the transfer.

In fact, beta HCG begins to be produced from the moment of implantation, but it takes a few days for them to be detectable by urine pregnancy tests , even if they are ultra-sensitive tests (that is, they read very low concentrations of the hormone in the urine ).

We also remind you that false negatives may also be due to the fact that the test was not performed with the first pee of the morning , which, being more concentrated, facilitates the test in detecting the hormone.

False positive pregnancy tests

A  false positive ,  on the other hand, is a test that shows a favorable outcome (for example the two colored lines or the word “pregnant”, depending on the type of test).

Why might the result be false?

If hormones similar to those of pregnancy were taken in that stimulation and transfer cycle , a test performed too early could detect them and give a false positive result. For example, drugs used to induce ovulation can make pregnancy tests positive for a long time after the transfer.

For these reasons, we ask you to wait those  14 days after the transfer which allow you to have a reliable result.

Imagine getting a false positive urine test and then a negative blood sample at the clinic: the disappointment would be even greater! Therefore we recommend waiting and performing beta hCGs according to the recommendations received.

If the test is positive and the beta HCG values ​​are within the normal range , a first transvaginal ultrasound is usually performed after 2-3 weeks , to evaluate whether the pregnancy is in the uterus and ascertain the viability of the embryo. 

If, on the other hand, the beta HCG values ​​are low, it is usually recommended to repeat the dosage after 48 hours to evaluate how they increase over time.

In the stork’s beak!

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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