Beta HCG Testing: A Key Step In IVF Treatment

Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, also called the pregnancy hormone, represents the first hormonal exchange between the mother and the placenta. Formed only at the time of pregnancy, a blood test or other forms of early pregnancy tests help detect its presence in the human body. One such test is Beta hCG, which involves quantitative serum testing done by fertility clinics to assess the hCG hormone levels in the blood. Higher hCG hormone levels are associated with successful IVF procedures and positive pregnancy outcomes.

What is an Ideal hCG Level After an IVF Procedure?

There is more to an IVF treatment than merely embryo transfer, with hCG levels being an important aspect. However, there is no defined cut-off that can be viewed as the gold standard for defining a normal pregnancy, and factors such as the timing of the beta IVF test and the type of embryo transfer dictate the results.

Broadly speaking, a reading above 100 is regarded as a favourable outcome. However, the daily rate of increase in hCG levels is an even more critical parameter. A higher percentage growth within 48 hours of the initial beta test gives you a better probability of success. Consider it a positive indication if your beta hCG levels are doubling every 48 hours.

Your doctor will likely observe your hormone levels over three beta IVF tests, and if all three return positive outcomes, you will be moved on to a vaginal ultrasound around five to eight weeks into the pregnancy to check for a gestational sac and heartbeat from the embryo – this will be the final confirmation of your pregnancy. Even if your first beta test result is not at the expected level, it should not be a cause for panic.

Ideal hCG Level After The First Two Weeks Of Pregnancy

Sometimes, your doctor may recommend repeating the beta-hCG test every four days until it returns a score of 20000. After that, this test will be discontinued, and you will undergo a vaginal ultrasound scan. A transducer or probe is inserted into the vagina to conduct the scan, and is usually performed for the following reasons:

  • Determine the size and location of the foetus.
  • Detect the heartbeat of the developing foetus early in the pregnancy.
  • Identify whether you are pregnant with one or more babies (probable twins or triplets).
  • Detect ectopic pregnancies – this is a condition where the fertilised egg gets implanted in one of the fallopian tubes.
  • Analyse the root cause of any bleeding and whether it is due to a miscarriage.

Ideal hCG Levels 12 And 14 Days After An Embryo Transfer

Once the embryo transfer is done, the doctor will conduct a beta IVF test after 12 days. If the result shows a value greater than 100 mIU/mL, it will be considered a strong positive. The hCG levels should ideally double to more than 200 mIU/mL when tested again on day 14 to suggest that you will have a continuous pregnancy. If your hCG level at this stage exceeds 600, your chances of experiencing a multiple gestation pregnancy increase manifold.

Overcoming Stress after Undergoing the First Beta hCG Test

It may take a while to get your results after the first hCG test, and some couples undergoing IVF procedures often find it to be a challenging phase. Here is a look at some things you can consider to overcome the stress of the waiting period.

  • Keep yourself in the company of your loved ones and friends – being isolated is not a good idea.
  • Try to stay busy and follow a normal lifestyle.
  • Avoid bottling up your emotions and talk about them as freely as possible.
  • Do not become too obsessed with trying to find changes or symptoms of pregnancy within yourself.

How hCG Levels Differ With Fresh and Frozen Embryo Transfers

Fresh embryo transfer

In this cycle, the embryo transplant happens in the same cycle as follicle stimulation and egg retrieval. Rather than freezing the generated embryos, the best one is chosen and allowed to culture to the blastocyst stage before being transplanted. To induce early pregnancy, hCG injections may be administered to stimulate the production of progesterone hormones.

Frozen embryo transfer

In case of a frozen embryo transfer, hCG injections are not administered since progesterone hormones are administered externally. A beta-hCG test can be performed within nine days of the transfer, though it is advisable to follow the standard practice of testing at 12 and 14 days.

Is Beta hCG Test Recommended For All Pregnant Women?

A beta IVF test is not required when you conceive naturally – in such scenarios, a positive result from a urine test on a pregnancy test kit is enough to confirm the pregnancy. However, if this test returns a negative result and your doctor wants you to undergo further tests, then a blood hCG assessment can be done. The hCG hormone can be detected in the bloodstream within 11 days after you conceive, while this may be too early for a urine pregnancy testing kit to detect.

What Does Rise and Fall in hCG Levels Indicate?

Your hCG level may not have doubled in 48 hours but that does not give you enough reason to hit the panic button. Consult Your Doctor for effective guidance instead of trying to read too much into these numbers.

Often, hCG levels have been found to double after 96 hours, though a slow increase in this hormone could signal a probable ectopic or abnormal location of the pregnancy. Your doctor may advise you to undergo an early transvaginal ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy.

If your pregnancy is located normally but you are still witnessing slow hCG growth, it suggests an increased probability of miscarriage. However, falling hCG levels is not a good thing and usually indicates an early miscarriage.

Consult Our IVF Specialist in Bangalore

There exists a very complex relationship between the hCG levels in your bloodstream and the eventual outcome of the pregnancy. If you want more guidance on this subject, consult an IVF Specialist In Bangalore.

Here at Janisthaa, we have several years of experience in helping couples overcome their infertility issues and successfully conceive through an IVF treatment.

Book an appointment with one of our experienced fertility specialists today!