In Vitro Fertilization: What is a Beta Test?

In Vitro Fertilization is used with the purpose of achieving pregnancy in couples that may have various fertility issues. A pregnancy beta test is the name for the regular pregnancy test that may be taken after the 2 week wait, after the embryo is placed into the mother's uterus.

What Is a Beta Test?

The beta test is the most common pregnancy test that may be found in pharmacies as an over the counter product. The test may also be known as the beta HCG or B-HCG test, as it tests the HCG levels in the body. The test can be performed after the conception or after the embryo has been inserted in the uterus. The test will not be conclusive if taken earlier than 8 or 10 days after the conception, because the embryo may not be implanted in the uterus yet.

Beta Test Results Accuracy

The beta tests may not always give an accurate result. 10 percent of pregnant women that take the beta test after missing a period get a negative result, despite the fact that they are pregnant. If the test is positive, this is typically a good indicator of a pregnancy. However, in women that get HCG hormone injections, the test can be positive at any time during the treatment, so the test is not considered valid. The results of a beta test are not conclusive early in the pregnancy, before the embryo is implanted in the uterus, which happens typically between days 8 and 12 after the conception.

The HCG Hormone

The HCG hormone is present in the blood flow of a pregnant woman. The hormone is released after the implantation, 8 to 12 days after the conception has taken place.

Initially, the HCG hormone levels are very low, but will increase with each day of pregnancy. The highest levels of HCG hormone in the bloodstream are registered between week 8 and 11 of pregnancy. After this time, the levels of HCG hormones will drop and the placenta will start to support the baby. If after week 12, the HCG hormone levels are still high, the pregnancy may not be properly dated or there may be multiple babies or a molar pregnancy.

Early tests may show negative, despite the presence of a fetus in the body. Ideally, if negative the first time, the beta test should be taken again in 2 or 4 days' time, especially if there are high chances of a pregnancy.

The Best Time to Take the Test

The beta test can be taken at any point during the day, but the results may be more accurate if the test is taken in the morning. You should take the test 2 to 4 days before you expect your period. If the test is negative, you can repeat the test after 2 or 6 more days. Remember that the results are more likely to be positive if you wait.

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