Early Pregnancy Tests

Who Uses Early Pregnancy Tests?

With many women waiting until their 30s or later to conceive, there is a greater demand for an early pregnancy test that provides accurate results almost as soon as implantation could occur. The desire for an early pregnancy test stems from many months of trying to conceive while charting fertility signs, such as basal body temperature and cervical fluid. Women who are charting can determine their day of ovulation rather precisely, and these women often have a harder time waiting for their menstrual period to be late; they would rather get the result of an early pregnancy test to confirm within one week of ovulation whether their pregnancy attempts were successful.

How Do Early Pregnancy Tests Work?

The technology giving rise to the early pregnancy test is based on the following:

  • Extremely sensitive HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) detection
  • Detection of more than one isoform of HCG
  • Digital interpretation of HCG detection
  • Amplified detection of HCG for better sensitivity

Every early pregnancy test detects the presence of HCG, which is produced by a fertilized egg after it has implanted. Therefore, even if fertilization has occurred, if the egg has not yet implanted, there is no way an early pregnancy test will yield a positive result. This is one of the problems with every early pregnancy test: sometimes, an egg will not implant until 12 days after ovulation, which is only about 2 days before the missed period. Women using an early pregnancy test may start testing as early as 7 days after ovulation, which means they would obtain a series of disappointing negative results from an early pregnancy test, even if they were pregnant. However, in most women, implantation occurs sometime between days 6 and 9 after ovulation, and some types of early pregnancy test can detect such low concentrations of HCG as to yield a faint positive within days of implantation.

Different isoforms of the HCG molecule are produced in the very early stages of pregnancy. An early pregnancy test that can detect all of these isoforms will give accurate results before a pregnancy test that can only detect the later, mature forms. In addition, some tests employ amplification of antibody-based detect to allow a very faint positive signal to be visually detected earlier. These early pregnancy tests are extremely sensitive, but may give false positive results if the test taker has recently had a miscarriage, is peri-menopausal, or is taking certain fertility medications.

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