In vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment is not always successful. The reasons for this can include the cycle being cancelled during the stimulation phase or during the fertilisation and embryo development processes in the laboratory; or embryo implantation failing to take place following transfer and a negative pregnancy test result. […]
1.- Ovarian stimulation in the patient is carried out by administering doses of hormones that stimulate ovarian function with the aim of achieving sufficient oocytes. The doses of the aforementioned hormones are personalised to each patient depending on her ovarian reserve and based on the results of antimullerian hormone levels in a blood test and a follicle count for each ovary using a vaginal ultrasound scan. Controlling each patient’s ovarian response is done over a series of vaginal ultrasound scans (an average of 3) and, in some cases, by checking oestradiol (the hormone produced by the ovary) levels in blood. Once the checks indicate that the ovary is ready, oocyte retrieval is scheduled. This period of ovarian stimulation lasts between 8 and 10 days in most women and does not affect the patient’s daily routine. […]
What 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. […]
ACCESS INFORMATION PRIOR TO THIS POST ON BETA
β-hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a glycoprotein that is initially secreted by trophoblast cells in the embryo shortly after it implants in the uterus. The rapid increase in serum levels of hCG following conception means it is an excellent early indicator of pregnancy. It’s also a parameter which is widely used for monitoring that a pregnancy is progressing correctly.
On a physiological level, hCG triggers the corpus luteum and thus facilitates progesterone and oestrogen synthesis. Progesterone stimulates the maturing of blood and capillary vessels that help the foetus to develop correctly.
hCG levels can be measured in blood or in urine.
Urine tests have a detection limit of 20 to 100 mUI/ml depending on the brand. If the measurement is to be taken in urine, a sample of the first urine of the day is recommended. This is particularly true during the early days of pregnancy because, if the urine is too diluted, the test can return incorrect negative results.
hCG levels in blood can be used to detect levels as low as 5 mUI/ml and the concentration levels of the hormone can therefore be calculated.
hCG levels in multiple pregnancies are 30-50 % higher than in pregnancies where there is only one foetus. However, a multiple pregnancy should be confirmed by means of an ultrasound.
There are times when we give patients the results of in vitro fertilization, we tell them that the test is positive but that it is not good news, and that the chances that it evolves into an ongoing pregnancy are slim. It is a very difficult situation, emotionally, since it is very hard for patients to understand what has happened. If it really is positive, then why isn’t that good news? If it’s not good news, then why do I still have to take medication? […]
Confirming pregnancy after IVF and Egg Donation . The first ultrasound in which we can see the pregnancy is a very emotional time for the parents, especially for patients who have gone through treatments for assisted reproduction. For these patients, after having a positive pregnancy test , their anxiety does not go away but gets stronger until the pregnancy is seen to develop normally. Therefore it is very important to know what happens during this exploration, and what to expect. […]