The Two-Week Wait
How to cope with those two long weeks until you can take a pregnancy test
Testing Too Early
One of the biggest issues women obsess over during the two-week wait is when to take a home pregnancy test. Dr. George D. Kofinas, the founder and medical director of the Fertility Institute in Brooklyn, New York, says they give their patients a time when they can start testing, and he recommends against testing any earlier.
“If you test earlier, it’s possible to have a false positive,” he says. “It takes two weeks to get the hCG (used in some fertility treatments) out of the system. If you test too early, you always have the risk of measuring the pregnancy hormone. The only exception is frozen embryo transfer, but even then there are pitfalls because some patients do not become positive early enough. A few days later they may be positive. For that reason, again, stick with the two weeks in order to avoid those false results.”
In general, the fertility provider will retest regardless of the outcome of the home pregnancy test.
A Plan of Action
Leonard says what’s really important during the two-week wait is to create a plan of action for whatever result presents itself at the end of that wait. This plan will help you and your partner through the two-week wait and through these possible scenarios:
A negative test
- How will you both face the news?
- Who will you talk to—your RE, a counselor, a compassionate nurse at your clinic?
- Do you go forward immediately, or wait for a time and try again?
- Is it time to consider alternatives, like adoption?
A positive test
- Normal protocol with a positive result is for a fertility clinic to retest at specific intervals to be sure the pregnancy hormone is rising normally.
- Do you tell everyone immediately, or share the news judiciously until the pregnancy is fairly well-established?
“Cautiously optimistic is the healthiest way to approach the two-week wait,” Leonard says. “Have that plan and put it on the back burner. Think positively, but also keep in mind that at least we know what we’re going to do either way, without dwelling on it.”
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