How Early Can I Do A Home Pregnancy Test After IVF?

Ryan's picture
One of the most difficult aspects of an IVF cycle is the Two Week Wait. It's commonly referred to as TWW on message boards and blogs all over the internet. It can be a very stressful and anxiety provoking time where couples go stir crazy micromanaging every slight twinge or twang. The temptation of doing a home pregnancy test can be extremely strong! If done too early you will get a false result. So I often hear, "Ryan, how early can I do a home pregnancy test after my IVF transfer?"
It's important that women do not do a home pregnancy test too early after doing a fresh transfer (non-frozen embryo transfer). During the process of retrieval or harvest a pregnancy hormone (HCG) is injected just prior to the extraction and will give a false positive if doing a home pregnancy test. IVF clinics do the pregnancy hormone injection just prior to retrieval (approximately 36 hours) to help in the maturation and development of growing follicles. The time it takes for this injection to be eliminated from your system can be approximately 1 full week. If doing a pregnancy test in the 7 - 10 days after retrieval you can get a false positive as the urine test picks up on the residual pregnancy hormone from the injection. I recently had a patient who had false positives for 12 full days after the HCG injection. On the flip side if doing a home pregnancy test too early the natural pregnancy hormone levels may not yet be high enough to register on the test leaving a negative result.
Women who are doing a frozen embryo transfer (FET) will not have to worry about the false positives that can happen with a fresh transfer. During a frozen embryo transfer IVF cycle, there will be no HCG trigger injection. So women can do a home pregnancy test as early as they want without worrying about a false positive result.
A home pregnancy test will begin to be accurate closer to a full 10 days post transfer but can be done earlier with possible accurate results. I have patients choosing to do home pregnancy tests approximate days after their retrieval showing a positive pregnancy. One thing to keep in mind is that no matter the pregnancy test outcome always go in for blood work. It's not uncommon for patients to have a negative home pregnancy test only to have a positive HCG blood test within 24 hours of each other. Blood HCG levels are always more accurate and sensitive than a home pregnancy test.
If you are going through the stressful two-week wait and choose to do a home pregnancy test keep in mind the above cautions before looking at your results.  Also, keep in mind that acupuncture can help during this period.  The intention of acupuncture is to support implantation while decrease the stress couples are going through waiting for their test results.
Best of health and fingers crossed for those of you who have recently had a transfer.
Dr. Ryan Funk
Doctor of Chinese Medicine
Fellow of the ABORM
ivf two week wait, How Early Can I Do A Home Pregnancy Test After IVF