What to Expect on Beta Day

blood-drawAt the close of the two week wait comes the day that your months of preparation have all led towards. The big blood draw that will conclude if the transfer worked, if your surrogate is pregnant, and if your road to parenthood is well underway!

On Beta Day, your surrogate will report to her monitoring clinic for a blood draw. The entire process is over in about 5 minutes. The blood results are then tested to check a number of hormone levels for results that highlight a positive pregnancy result. These hormones include:

  • Estrogen Levels. Estrogen performs a variety of functions in pregnancy. Most importantly, Estrogen will keep the uterine lining ideal for the development and growth needed in early pregnancy. Estrogen will encourage placenta growth and encourage blood circulation as well.

  • Progesterone Levels. Progesterone is a vital part of achieving and maintaining pregnancy. In many cases the medicines used in the first stage of IVF can cause the body to produce very low, if any, progesterone on its own. As the progesterone will help the placenta grow and nourish the fetus, it is important for your doctor to keep a close eye on this hormone in the early weeks of pregnancy.
  • hCG Levels. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone the body begins producing nearly from the moment of conception. The hormone levels generally continue to double every 48 hours during the first few weeks of the pregnancy. This is the hormone that turns a home test positive or negative, and can range greatly woman by woman.

There is no standard number that indicates a normal, weak, or strong pregnancy. Different women produce different levels of these hormones and not all blood pregnancy tests are taken at the same time on the same day. More important than the size of the number is the rate at which it doubles over the next few weeks.

Once the tests have been completed the clinic will send the results to your doctor for review. From there, your nurse will call you as well as your surrogate to discuss the results. This is a time to ask your nurse any questions you may have about what comes next or any other questions you have about the medical protocol.  In many instances the surrogate’s medications may be modified in order to raise borderline or low hormone levels to a more comfortable range.

In the event of a negative beta the surrogate is generally directed to stop all medications immediately.

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.