Pregnancy test after IVF

One of the most difficult of having IVF treatment is waiting for the results. Getting a negative outcome may be disastrous but is a reality you have to face. You need to know the outcome of IVF before you get the results. Usually, fertility clinics have extensive counseling sessions to make couples understand the course of the journey in IVF. Many patients undergo mental trauma due to fear and anxiety before a pregnancy test after IVF. It’s a completely normal and understandable feeling which each couple undergo after IVF.

     IVF outcome is decided by several factors in assisted conception. The waiting period after embryo transfer till pregnancy test after IVF is very crucial to the patient. It can lead to a positive pregnancy test that will complete your family. At times the positive result may end in a miscarriage or a biochemical pregnancy. A negative result in IVF treatment may be in terms of failure to respond to stimulation, failure to fertilise or a negative pregnancy test. Usually, all these negative outcomes are a big blow to the couple

When can you do a pregnancy test following embryo transfer?

Due to the availability of high-sensitivity pregnancy tests it is possible to diagnose pregnancy very early. A pregnancy test can be positive after a few days of implantation due to traces of β-hCG. This hormone can be detected in your blood as early as 7-9 days after embryo transfer. This can be even earlier if you have undergone fresh cycle blastocyst transfer. But frozen cycles take longer time to show up the positive result.

     Immediately after embryo transfer set of advices are explained to the patient. The couple have to wait for the pregnancy test after IVF which is done by serum beta human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG). This test is of enormous interest to the couple as it represents a decisive point. Out of anxiety many couples go on checking urine pregnancy test though out the waiting period. It gives variable results as you are under several medications and these can interfere with your result.

When can I stop the support medications following pregnancy test after IVF?

      The agony of waiting period after IVF is added by the painful progesterone injections. Progesterone can be safely discontinued on the day of positive pregnancy test after a fresh embryo transfer cycle. You can  without any harm to the pregnancy. It is important to know that the fertility clinic will have a protocol for luteal support. It may require women to continue their progesterone supplementation several weeks. However, stopping these medications help cost-savings and reduction of side effects.

       Women undergoing fresh cycles using blastocyst ET can stop their medications immediately after a negative β-hCG test on days 5-6. This can be taken as a failed IVF cycle.  If you have undergone a frozen embryo transfer, your doctor may advise the test little later around 9th – 12th day.

Is it possible to get a false positive pregnancy test after IVF?

One of the possible outcomes of the pregnancy test is a biochemical pregnancy. Here the initial pregnancy test is positive but does not progress into a healthy pregnancy. A biochemical pregnancy is different from false positive pregnancy test. False positive test detects pregnancy where the patient is not pregnant at all. It can happen due to medications like HCG, antianxiety medications, some tumour conditions and also due to a defect in the test kit.

What is chemical pregnancy after IVF?

         In the general population, many pregnancies go unnoticed. Very early pregnancy can be detected by a test for HCG but eventually this end in a miscarriage. Chemical pregnancies are usually diagnosed when β-hCG levels are tested prior to a missed menstrual period. But may occur spontaneously following a missed period. Around 25% of pregnancies fail even before the woman has any symptoms. In other words, she misses the pregnancy before she has symptoms of pregnancy. The exact cause biochemical pregnancy of yet known.

       The rise in β-hCG in a case of biochemical pregnancy is for a short time. This differs from a healthy pregnancy test after IVF. It is an adverse outcome of a clinical pregnancy like spontaneous and induced miscarriages, ectopic pregnancy etc. Chemical pregnancy can’t be detected in ultrasound. The rise in in β-hCG is for a short time, it doesn’t double like clinical pregnancy. Rapid fall in urinary or serum β-hCG concentration and subsequent regular menstrual period indicates a chemical pregnancy.

A biochemical pregnancy causes disappointment to the couple after IVF treatment. However, you can take for sure that the embryo had implanted after hatching. Due to several reasons, the embryo may not grow further. But this shouldn’t withdraw you from further treatment. Instead, you can take it a hope of a successful clinical pregnancy in the future.

Ectopic pregnancy after IVF

Ectopic pregnancy is a tragic event in women longing for a pregnancy. It can’t be predicted earlier and often couple lose hope on any further treatment. It can happen after IVF and appears to be related to

  • Pre-existing tubal pathology
  • Poor ovarian reserve
  • Frozen embryo transfer in a natural cycle may result in a higher ectopic  
  • Assisted hatching
  • A faulty embryo transfer technique
  • Smokers

However, in subsequent IVF cycles the intrauterine pregnancy rate is not decreased. It is diagnosed by mild rise in HCG levels which doesn’t double in 48 hours. Conclusive evidence can be drawn after an ultrasound.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy after IVF?

You may be eager to know the results of IVF treatment while waiting for the final day. It is always wrong to assume pregnancy or negative results before the pregnancy test after IVF. However, some women may feel few symptoms which can be positively related to a pregnancy.

  • Vomiting sensation
  • Reeling of head and blackout
  • Implantation bleed and pain in lower abdomen

How do you know when IVF has failed?

The results of IVF treatment are confirmatory after the blood test for HCG. IVF failure is declared if the result is below the required level of HCG. However, at times you may start bleeding before your final result comes. In this case your doctor will advise you to continue medication and wait till the pregnancy test after IVF.

How to prepare yourself for the result day after IVF?

If you know the following facts of IVF it will reduce the anxiety and stress during the waiting period.

  • Don’t bring in negative thoughts about IVF treatment. As of now, In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer is the most advanced method of treatment for infertile couples. More than 2 million IVF children have been born to date.
  • Many infertile couples need IVF treatment and various assisted reproductive techniques. In Vitro Fertilization including ICSI is the most advanced method of infertility treatment.
  • A negative result doesn’t mean the end of the world. No treatment can guarantee a hundred percent success. There are many couples who succeed after repeated IVF failure.
  • Alternative treatments like oocyte or sperm donation can be considered next time. The higher incidence of pregnancy outcomes in oocyte donation cycles can mainly be attributed to the younger age of oocyte donors.
  • You can go through a frozen embryo transfer after a failed fresh cycle if you have surplus embryos.
  • You can talk to your doctor about the further treatment process. Alternative treatment procedures can be discussed.

Some of the new policies which may not increase success in IVF

Embryo selection

  •  Extended embryo culture to blastocyst
  •  Elective single embryo transfer
  •  Culture of embryo with time lapse imaging incubators
  •  PGS

Mild ovarian stimulations

  •  ‘Mini-IVF’
  •  Natural cycle IVF
  •  Patient-friendly IVF

Cycle interruptions

  •  All-freeze cycles with frozen-thawed cycle to follow
  •  Embryo banking with combined frozen-thawed cycle to follow

What can you do while waiting for the pregnancy test after IVF?

We have listed few activities to help reduce anxiety and worry while you wait for your IVF pregnancy results.

  • Self-care, taking care of yourself is the best idea. You can do pedicure or take care of skin by a home-based therapy.
  • Stay connected with family and friends
  • Consider restricted use of internet and media, only choose news sources you believe
  • Keep a routine
  • Access natural light- Sit over the balcony and near windows with natural light
  • Stay connected with your social circle, you can play interactive games with friends. Group phone calls are additionally a strong pathway to feel secure
  • Exercise your creative brain, creativity is surely a large portal because those whoever tend to sense anxious are relieved by this.
  • Colouring or painting is an excellent idea to keep you occupied

               Most of the couple’s desire to have children and a large number of them are able to fulfill their dreams spontaneously within 1–2 years of marriage. Those who are not able to conceive need treatment in different forms including Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART}. IVF appears to be a highly successful treatment for female and male infertility.

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