The most sensitive home pregnancy tests can detect HCG, the pregnancy hormone, at levels of 6.5 mlU. To be considered pregnant by medical professionals, you need to have a reading of at least 5 mlU.
The absolute best and most sensitive home pregnancy tests are made by First Response. They have pink dye, and really, you’ll do well with just about any test that uses pink dye over blue if you’re testing early (and if you are trying very hard to get pregnant, you’re probably testing early). They’re the most sensitive by far.
You’ll want to test first thing in the morning, not less than 9 days after you ovulate, or more than 5-6 days before you expect your period. If you test too far out, you may get a false negative. You’ll want to test first thing in the morning because the HCG levels in your urine will be more concentrated, so you’ll get a more accurate result.
Try to aim your pee well, and only pee on the test strip part of the test for five seconds. Anything more and you’ll risk getting a dye run. Anything less and you might cause the test to fail.
I always put some toilet paper or paper towels down on the counter, because no matter how much care you take, these tests get messy. If you don’t like getting pee all over your vanity, it’s a good step to take.
Set the test down and wait. You shouldn’t have to wait long. If you’re pregnant, a second line will show up pretty quickly, and even if it’s faint, you’re pregnant. I think there’s some confusion, that people think you’re not necessarily pregnant if you see a second line but it’s really faint, but you’re pregnant.
(if your pregnancy test does this, feel free to curse it out)
If you’re going through a cycle where you used an HCG trigger, your rules are slightly different. The HCG you used to trigger ovulation will stay in your system about one day per thousand units. If you used a 10,000 unit trigger, that trigger will stay in your system for ten days, so any pregnancy test you take before you reach the 10 day mark will be inaccurate.
A lot of people deal with this by “testing out the trigger.” This basically means buying a bunch of cheap home pregnancy tests (NOT First Response, they’re not cheap at all) and using them every day to observe the second line getting fainter and vanishing completely. Any positive test after that point indicates pregnancy.
Or you can just wait.
You’re supposed to wait. You’re supposed to wait until you get your beta results back, because a home pregnancy test can’t tell you how much HCG is really in your blood, so you can’t obsess over numbers. And, really, a home pregnancy test is just a step. After half a dozen miscarriages within the first six to nine weeks, after chemical pregnancies and false hopes, it seems like a very pointless step indeed.
But sometimes, it’s just nice to know that, for now at least, you’re pregnant.
(six days past 5 day transfer)
Betas are on Thursday the 17th, which is 10 days past a 5 day transfer. The magic number is 100; if we can get there, betas part two will be 48 hours later, at which point, the magic number will be 200. And then 400. And then I hold my breath and pray something stays in place and wait until the ultrasound, where I hold my breath and pray for a strong heartbeat.