Testing out the trigger (and other stories)

I have read a lot about people testing out the hCG trigger injection. I suppose the point of this is to ascertain when you stop observing the presence of the injection and start observing hCG being produced by a living-embryo-and-placenta kind of situation. Obviously I was not expecting the latter but I felt like, as long as I was wasting money on an 8th round of IVF, I might as well do some science.

I had bought pregnancy tests on the cheap from ‘Fertility to Family’ (https://fertility2family.com.au/) and I needed to use them for something.

I took the 10 000 IU hCG injection on a Saturday night for my Monday morning egg collection. 10 000 IU is apparently equivalent to 250 μg and I have no idea why medical types can’t just say 250 μg. Mystery.

I’ve heard that you have to wait 14 days post trigger to do a pregnancy test to avoid a false positive. Given the results of my semi-scientific trial, I would say that, by 156 hours (6.5 days) post trigger, you won’t be getting much of a false negative signal (there is a faint line at 128 that doesn’t show up well in the photo below).

All the pee tests shown below were taken first thing in the morning and I *tried* to be about the same level of hydrated every day. Pee tests aren’t very scientifically robust :(.

Post Trigger.png

Testing out the 10 000 IU trigger. Labels show hours post trigger, ranging from 8 hours post trigger to 180 hours (7.5 days) post trigger.

Seems like waiting a week post trigger is plenty. Most clinics conduct their official pregnancy test 2 weeks post ovulation, or 16 days post trigger.

Anyway, I kept testing every bloody morning and getting a whole lot of nothing (not that there’d be any reason for a positive at that stage – pregnancy or not). Regardless, it made me feel pretty depressed. I was annoyed that they had wasted more than half my precious eggs. I was frustrated that there is absolutely nothing I could do about that (beyond tell them that I was pissed off that they had wasted my eggs and my money – which I did, multiple times…)

13 days post trigger, I did yet another early morning pee test which, again, gave a resounding negative. I put it on the table, got my breakfast, sat down, looked back at this damn test and there was a little barely-there nothing-much-to-see second line. I stared at it some more, turned on all the lights I could find and it was there. I compared it to yesterday’s test and the day before’s and it was there. I tilted it and squinted at it and gazed at it some more and it was still there.

I got to work and I googled, “does asparagus cause positive pregnancy test”, although, logically, I feel like I would have heard something about that earlier, if it was the case. Apparently I’m not the only one to have this question. The answer is “no – not at all” FYI.

So I actually was pregnant for the first time ever.

I decided not to tell anyone. Wifey’s last pregnancy was a chemical and I didn’t want to get her hopes up to have that happen again. I also felt that she should be the first to know, so I just kept it to myself.

I did a test the next morning and the line was darker. The next day, the line was darker again. That was Sunday and my official pregnancy test was on the Monday. I decided that I’d have to tell wifey. She had been hassling me about whether I had taken more tests and if I’d got a positive. The line was obviously getting darker so it seemed appropriate to tell her. The intention was to go to the shops and get a little gift basket for her and put a (proper, expensive and positive) pregnancy test in the bottom. I even bottled (and hid) my early morning pee so I could be sure that I had enough of the good stuff to turn another pregnancy test positive.

“Honey, I got you a present!”

I went in to say goodbye to C (she was still in bed). Of course she starts asking me if I had taken a test, if I was going to take a test, what did the test say, etc? I tried to be non-committal and generally negative (I’m a terrible liar) but she kept pushing for an answer! In the end (being, as I said, a terrible liar) I couldn’t help smiling. The look of mingled shock and delight on her face was ADORABLE. I wish I had a picture. It was actually the same look she gave me when found her engagement ring in the bottom of a picnic basket or when I gave her a Fitbit for her birthday (she really liked that Fitbit…)

I kept doing a pee test every morning but, because I thought I’d better start drinking more, they got lighter – which freaked us out. Then they got darker.

On the Monday, I had my first official pregnancy blood test. The result was described as a “lovely pregnancy result” of 99 (mystery units?) hCG. hCG levels are supposed to double in very early pregnancy so, I imagine my blood hCG was around 50 on Sunday, 25 on Saturday and 10-15ish on Friday. Looks like even the cheap dodgy pregnancy tests can detect blood hCG at levels of 10ish in early morning (maybe slightly dehydrated) pee.

I had the next official pregnancy blood test on the Thursday afternoon and got the results call on the Friday. We were actually going to a wedding on that Friday. Darling wife was a bridesmaid so she was off early getting her makeup done while I sat at home stewing (having taken the day off months previously for the wedding). “At least if the numbers are going down I can get drunk for free tonight”, I consoled myself. Wifey kept messaging me during her hair-and-makeup-marathon to see if I’d heard anything. When I got the call, they were quite nonchalant. hCG was 419, which is good (the median for that stage is 421). Basically the message was, “Looks fine. Come for an ultrasound in a month.”


Cheapo pregnancy tests ranging from first positive (top) at 9 days post ovulation and ‘3 weeks 4 days pregnant’ down to ‘4 weeks 6 days pregnant’ (bottom). What happened then? I ran out of pregnancy tests.

So here I was thinking the two week wait is shit and now it’s a four week wait.



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