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Understanding false positives & negatives

Anxiety

There is always some sort anxiety or apprehension when trying to fall pregnant.
You sit at home waiting for the dark line to show up on your pregnancy test, confirming a positive result. 
The waiting itself is tortuous but then you can’t stop thinking about whether the test is accurate.

 

 

How do pregnancy tests work?

During your menstrual cycle an egg travels down the fallopian tube to be fertilised by a sperm cell. Once fertilisation takes place the egg is implanted into the uterus and the placenta is formed.

The placenta secretes the human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone (hCG) which is present in the urine.  The presence of this hormone in the urine indicates that you are pregnant.

The best time to test whether you are pregnant is 7-10 days after conception.

 

How to read home pregnancy tests:

You always compare the Test (T) line to the Control (C) line.

 

A positive result:

This indicates that the hCG hormone is present in your urine and you are pregnant. This occurs when the Test (T) line is the same colour as the Control (C) line.

 

A negative result:

 This Indicates that the hCG hormone is NOT present in your urine and you are NOT pregnant. The result is negative when the Test (T) line is not visible or is lighter than the Control (C) line. When this result is generated you should retest to confirm that it is not a false negative result.

 

False Negative result:

This occurs when the test generates a negative result when you are in fact pregnant. This can occur as a result of the following.

Taking the test too early: hCH levels increase exponentially during the first trimester. You may have a false negative result as the level of hCG is too low to be picked up by the pregnancy test. We advise you confirm your result with another test.

Diluted urine. If you are well hydrated there might be a lower concentration of this hormone in your urine and so there is not enough hCG per unit of urine tested.

Damaged test: The test may be damaged due to excessive heat and may not read the results correctly

Medications: Some drugs like as diuretics or promethazine (an anti-histamine) may cause a false negative result.

 

 

False Positive result:

This occurs when a positive result is present when you in fact are not pregnant. This can take place due to:

Certain medications: Anti-Parkinson drugs, anti-convulsion drugs and some tranquilisers may cause false positive results:

Protein or blood in the urine: as a result of cysts or infections or kidney damage

Chemical pregnancy: 25% of all pregnancies are chemical pregnancies, also called early miscarriage. A chemical pregnancy occurs when the pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation.

 

Buying a pregnancy testPredictorEarlyBox 2

When buying your pregnancy test it is vital use the most sensitive and accurate test.

Predictor standard pregnancy test measures 25mIU/ml and is 99% accurate 

Predictor early pregnancy test measures a low level of 12mIU/ml.

The early test is 90% accurate 4 days before your menstruation and 99% accurate the day of your expected menstruation.

 

Predictor Early Plus contains both the standard and the early pregnancy tests, allowing you test at the lowest level and confirm the result with a less sensitive but just as accurate test.You can now use a pregnancy test and trust the result

 

References:

http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/pregnancy-tests?page=2

Baby Med. http://www.babymed.com/pregnancy-testing/false-positive-pregnancy-test-result

Better Health Chanel. http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Pregnancy_testing?open

The pregnancy lab. http://www.pregnancylab.net/2011/05/false-negative-pregnancy-tests.html

Lab Tests Online. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/hcg/tab/test/

com http://www.birth.com.au/tests-offered-during-pregnancy/urine-tests#.VOXOTfmUe5J

Baby Hopes. http://www.babyhopes.com/articles/falsepositive.html

Menstruation, Ovulation & Ovulatory Dysfunction

A woman goes through 4 phases during her menstrual cycle; Menstrual Phase, Follicular Phase, Ovulatory Phase and Luteal Phase. Irregularities of menstrual cycle, in particular the ovulatory phase can drastically effect conception

Menstrual phase is characterised by the uterus shedding its lining. This occurs after an egg has failed to implant into the uterus.

Follicular phase:  This phase is characterised by the development of eggs in the ovary. One of these eggs matures in a sac-like-structure called a follicle. This follicle develops and secretes a hormone which causes the uterine wall (endometrium) to thicken, preparing for egg implantation.

ovulationsummary-of-ovulation-fertijpg-nnealhrcOvulatory phase: During this phase the body prepares to release an egg for fertilisation. Around day 14 of the menstrual cycle, the pituitary gland secretes a hormone called the Luitenising hormone (LH). This hormone causes the egg to be released from the ovary, allowing it to travel down the fallopian tubes for fertilisation. The egg is propelled down the fallopian tubes to the uterus by small hair like extensions called cilia of the fimbriae. The egg can stay in the fallopian tubes for up to 24 hours and can take up to 5 days to travel from the ovary to the uterus.

The luteal phase starts on day 15 and lasts until the end of the menstrual cycle. This stage
focuses on preparing the uterus for fertilisation. Hormones; oestrogen and progesterone ensure that the endometrium remains lush to allow for implantation of a fertilised egg. If the egg has not been fertilised these hormone levels decline and the endometrium lining begins to shed, starting the menstrual phase.

Understanding your ovulatory cycle

Understanding your ovulatory cycle is vital when trying to conceive naturally. The average woman ovulates every 25 to 32 days but this cycle can vary from person to person. During ovulation the egg is in the optimal position for fertilisation. Predictor Ovulation allows you to test whether you are ovulating at the comfort of your own home.  This test determines the best 2 days to conceive. If you have been unable to conceive naturally for an extensive period of time please visit your nearest doctor as you might have ovulatory dysfunction or fertility issues.

Ovulatory dysfunction is a condition whereby ovulation does not occur regularly or fails to occur at all. It is one of the main causes of female infertility. If a woman does not ovulate regularly she has fewer chances to conceive as she may ovulate less frequently. Irregular or late ovulation can affect the quality of eggs available for fertilisation. The main causes for ovulatory dysfunction include:download (1)

  • Ageing: As you age, the number of eggs available for fertilisation decline. When these levels are critically low, menstrual cycles may become irregular.

 

  • Hormonal irregularities: Some women have irregular menstrual cycles because their ovaries produce too much androgen (male hormones). This condition is more common in women who are overweight, and have a history of irregular periods, acne, and/or infertility. This syndrome is called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or PCO. This condition is often presents with cysts under the surface of the ovary. Women who have PCOS often need to be on treatment to regulate their menstrual cycles.

 

  • Stress: Physical or mental stress can often cause ovulatory problems. Women under extreme mental stress (professional students or executive managers) often stop ovulating for short periods of time. This an-ovulation is usually temporary and usually cycles return to normal when the stressor is no longer present. Extreme weight loss or intense exercise (as in professional athletes) can also cause ovulatory dysfunction.

 

  • Thyroid disorders: An over or under active thyroid can cause ovulatory problems.  If a woman has been unable to fall pregnant after an extensive period of time she should speak to her doctor about testing her thyroid function. Proper treatment of a thyroid abnormality can often restore ovulation.

 

  • Abnormal ovariesSome women are born with ovaries that cannot produce eggs. Women with this condition do not go through puberty and usually never have a period.

 

  1. Phases of the Menstrual cycle. Last accessed 9 September 2014. http://menstrupedia.com/articles/physiology/cycle-phases
  2. Ovulatory Dysfunction. Last accessed 9 September 2014 http://www.centerforhumanreprod.com/ovulatory_dysfunction.html

Infertility does not only affect women

blog post 5

Women are not the only ones affected by infertility!

It is a major misconception that women are to blame for infertility; 35% of infertility in couples can be attributed to men.

Male fertility testing can be a sensitive issue, and some men find it too embarrassing to go to a clinic for testing. Early identification and treatment of fertility issues may increase the likelihood of pregnancy. Testing may also spare partners unnecessary stress 2. Traditionally, male fertility tests are completed at fertility clinics. These tests often include physical exams, semen analysis and blood hormone testing.

Read more »