If my husband had let me I would have been one of those people who were home pregnancy test “addicts” after my IVF embryo transfer. Unfortunately, our doctor and nurse advised against testing at all and he was in the room to hear it (otherwise, he wouldn’t have known the difference). For me, it was the not knowing what was going on that almost drove me insane. So, it was helpful to learn what was going on each day after the transfer, and knowing the timeline somewhat kept the complete crazies at bay (well, almost). I, of course, did sneak in a home pregnancy test or two but by the time I did it I knew that a positive would be a really good sign (according to where we were on the timeline) and a negative could probably be trusted.
I did a 5dt of two blastocysts- the embryos that were retrieved were transferred 5 days afterward. The day after the transfer the blastocyst was supposed to be hatching out of its shell. On the second day it was to be attaching to the uterine lining to prepare for the implantation that was to begin on days 3 and 4. 5 days after the transfer the implantation process was supposed to be complete and the morula should have had placental and fetal cells. Good ole HCG is supposed to start secreting at 6 days past transfer (although still pretty early to be detected on a home pregnancy test) and by 9 days past transfer (often also called 14 days past ovulation) hcg levels should be high enough to be immediately detected on a home test.
My initial beta test was scheduled for 10 days past transfer, or 15 dpo. I took my first home pregnancy test (many more followed) 8 days past transfer or 13 days past ovulation. The test was pretty much immediately positive, but was by no means dark so any earlier and I bet that it would have been very, very faint (and I was pregnant with twins). The timeline, to me, seems to indicate that at the very earliest you may be able to test is 11dpo (6 days past transfer for a 5dt and 8 days past transfer for a 3dt). The timeline is the same for those who have a 3 day transfer – some of the dividing and growing just happens in your body rather than in the lab. So, the most logical and sanity saving thing to do, in my opinion, is to wait at least a week after your transfer. By that time hcg will likely have started to be produced and you will get a more accurate result. If you are the type that doesn’t give up all hope when you see a negative then by all means test away, but if you really want to have a good idea of whether it is spectacular news or bad new then don’t start testing until you would be the equivalent of 11 days past ovulation (knowing that is still REALLY early).
Photo Credit: Jenny Rollo.