Avoiding Home Pregnancy Tests

pregnancy tests

The time between your embryo transfer and the first blood draw (Beta test) can feel like an eternity. The wait is a time filled with equal parts excitement and anxiety.

“Did it work?”

“Am I pregnant?”

These questions are in high supply over these 10-12 days and many surrogates will want to take home pregnancy tests to try and get that answer as soon as possible. While this may seem incredibly tempting, home pregnancy tests are something we tend to advise against doing.

The reality is that, while home pregnancy tests can accurately detect a positive pregnancy, IVF creates a new series of scenarios that home tests aren’t sophisticated enough to manage just yet. For example:

  • The hormone therapy that you are on can cause a positive pregnancy test result when, in reality, there may be no embryo present.
  • Home tests are unable to account for the speed at which your hormone levels double. This number tends to be the true indicator of the viability of pregnancy. In some cases you can get positive pregnancy tests for a pregnancy that is, ultimately, not viable.
  • Home tests have no way of detecting problems with a potential pregnancy including a blighted ovum or an ectopic pregnancy.
  • The amount of hormones produced will vary from woman to woman. You may indeed be pregnant with a viable pregnancy, but have hormone levels too low to be detected by a home test.

With so many scenarios for a false home test result, we strongly advise surrogates to avoid testing. At the very least, if you choose to test make sure you’re aware that these tests may not tell the whole story of your journey. We also advise that if a surrogate does do home tests, she be very careful about sharing the results of the tests with her intended parents.

Surrogacy is such a roller coaster of emotions without the added stress of a potentially misleading home pregnancy test. Heading into your Beta test expecting good news, only to receive a negative result can be especially difficult on all parties.

We understand how excited you are, and certainly want you to enjoy this phase of your journey! Just remember that nothing is official until you complete the Beta testing.


*Revised 10/29/18

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.