Testing For Pregnancy After In-Vitro Fertilization

IVF pregnancy testing

The following are general tests conducted for confirmation of pregnancy after in-vitro fertilization.

Blood test

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is recommended for approximately two weeks of embryo transfer. This test conducted by taking blood or urine samples of the patient. But the blood test provides the most authentic result instead of conducting a urine test at home to detecting early pregnancy. The interpretation of this blood test is as follows:

  • If the initial blood test report stated that the hCG level is less than 5 international units/L, then it indicates the woman does not conceive a pregnancy.
  • If the initial blood test report stated that the hCG level is more than 10 international units/L, then the clinician order to repeat the test after 48 hours for confirming the level is increasing. In the case of achieving pregnancy, the hCG level automatically increasing to double the previous level in every 48 hours. This is continuing for 21 days after embryo transfer.
  • If the second test of the hCG level does not show its level increasing double or represents the same level, then the test is again repeated after 48 hours. In the case of pregnancy is not viable or the progression of pregnancy is not normal then the hCG level does not increase and starts declining. 

Ultrasound

If the hCG blood test provided expected levels after conducting a repeated blood test, then after three to four weeks of embryo transfer a pelvic ultrasound is recommended for conduction. Gestational sac, which is developed in the uterine cavity possible visible in the ultrasound image. The gestational sac is filled with fluid and the embryo floated on this fluid. The yolk sac is visible after four to five weeks of the embryo transfer or in the fifth or sixth weeks of pregnancy. The nourishment for the initial stage of embryo development has obtained from this yolk sac. The heartbeat of the developing fetus is usually visible after 6 to 6.5 weeks of conceiving.    

Prenatal care

Women who conceive successfully, they need prenatal care after 6 to 10 weeks of pregnancy. During this period, women need to visit regularly to their obstetric physicians. The obstetric physician monitors the health of the prospective mother and fetus. The doctor also clarifies all the queries of the prospective mother and her partner or family members.   

Pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos

Apart from the above-mentioned tests, pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos is recommended in some IVF treatment if the couple carries a disease-specific gene or faulty genetic mutation, which can pass on to their children.  

In the case of both, the partners have certain genetic diseases such as sickle-cell anemia or cystic fibrosis, then the possibility of having such diseases in their children will be one in four. Patients with BRCA genetic mutations increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The intended parents do not want to pass on these types of the gene to their children. In such cases, pre-implantation genetic testing can help to identify the possibility of embryos contains such genetic mutation. This identification helps to select and transfer the embryos which do not have such a gene.  

This test is also conducted for reducing the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the embryos to avoid diseases like Down syndrome. Sex selection also conducted through pre-implantation genetic testing in case of gender-specific disease risk means certain genetic diseases only occur in male children while some are female children. In certain countries also allow thus test for balancing the family planning. 

But this test is not preferred by doctors in general cases and even women who have undergone pre-implantation genetic testing, they need to follow the standard prenatal testing. This test is yet at the nascent stage and does not efficient for every case, therefore this test is not included in routine testing of all embryos before embryo transfer.    

Read Also: IVF Success Rate

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