Beta HCG Questions and Answers

Q: What should I expect my first beta hCG to be if my IVF cycle was successful?

A: First beta numbers can range from single digits up to triple digits depending on when implantation took place and how long it’s been since embryo transfer. The bottom line is, don’t get too discouraged if your initial beta number is low. What is important is the increase between your beta hCG blood tests. The level should double every 48 hours if it is a viable singleton pregnancy. The rate of doubling may be faster if it is a multiple gestation.

Q: My beta was doubling every 48 hours, then slowed down. Does this mean that I’m losing the pregnancy?

A: Not necessarily. In some cases, a pregnancy may start out with more than one embryo implanting. If one of the embryos implants, but stops growing after several days, the beta numbers may slow temporarily. They should resume doubling every 48 hours within a few days though. If not, this could indicate a failing or “chemical” pregnancy.

Q: My home pregnancy test was negative. Should I bother doing a beta hCG blood test?

A: Absolutely! Early in the pregnancy, hCG levels may still be too low for home pregnancy tests to register a positive result. You should trust the beta hCG numbers from your clinic more than the home pregnancy test.

Q: My doctor told me that my beta hCG numbers show that my pregnancy isn’t viable and told me to stop taking my medications. Is there still a remote chance that the pregnancy may still be viable?

A: Generally, your doctor will have had enough experience to know when a pregnancy is failing. However, if you are still uneasy discontinuing your medications, you should ask for another beta hCG test 48 hours later. Remember, it is your body and you paid for the treatment, so you shouldn’t jeopardize your own peace of mind and do something that will leave you wondering.

Read a blog about beta hCG by Dr. Cary L. Dicken here.