imagen4-e1301473089644-265x300What happens following the wait (‘the beta hCG wait) which generates so much anxiety whilst, at the same time, creating the hope that our lives may be changed forever when, in the end, the result is negative?

Many patients say that the absence of symptoms meant that they knew what was coming; others were also expecting the worst because they had begun to bleed prior to getting the result of the analysis.

It’s important to point out that the presence or absence of ‘symptoms’ which women associate with pregnancy are not a means of diagnosis. It’s also important to clarify that vaginal bleeding of varying intensity is not infrequent prior to the programmed pregnancy test date and this does not necessarily mean that the result will be negative. Indeed, the results obtained from an analysis of the pregnancy hormone in blood is the only reliable proof available. A urine analysis is also an option but needs to be carried out a little later on and is not one hundred percent reliable.

As soon as the bad news of a negative beta hCG test is received, a mixture of sensations, feelings and thoughts arise and which are comparable to those of mourning.

Patients ask themselves a number of questions:

  • Some are regarding the possibility of ever actually getting pregnant
  • Others are with regards to whether or not the team of doctors and biologists have really done everything that was in their hands
  • Others are more to do with a personal feeling of guilt: “What did I do wrong?”

It’s important to know that the end result in any assisted reproduction treatment is subject to numerous variables and details which are determined by each patient’s medical background, lifestyle, egg and sperm quality, the uterus, immunity factors, genetics and, of course, the quality of those specific embryos generated from certain eggs and certain spermatozoa.

It’s also important to keep in mind and accept that, sometimes, it’s impossible to know why a woman has not got pregnant.

We currently only have a partial, even small, understanding of the problems associated with fertility – like the tip of an iceberg. Even when starting out from optimum conditions, the human embryo does not implant in one hundred percent of cases and this is simply part of the fact that we belong to an animal species which, in comparison to others, has a relatively low reproduction rate.

What should I do following a negative beta hCG result?

Our medical and biology team carries out an exhaustive review of each case so that the most reasonable option for future attempts can be proposed. The setting up of specific units such as the ones responsible for patients with poor ovarian response, patients who have had recurrent pregnancy loss, patients who have had cases of implantation failure, etc., has been a significant step forward in terms of applying all the study, diagnosis and treatment techniques currently available and which help to improve results. Following a period of personal healing which will vary from case to case, patients will need to reflect and decide if they are ready to face another course of treatment and listen to the recommendations and indications given by the team of experts dealing with their case.

Despite the limitations mentioned above, thanks to technical progress in the field of assisted reproduction treatment and, very importantly, personalised treatment of each case, the majority of patients nowadays manage to achieve a pregnancy which evolves with absolute normality.

Dr Lydia Luquegynaecologist at Instituto Bernabeu.

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A negative beta hCG test. Now what?
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