So the home pregnancy test was negative, but we’re not quite done with this IVF cycle yet.

Avert your eyes squeamish people, I’m going to explain a bit more about pregnancy tests during IVF.  And this involves talking about periods.

Normal women ovulate around day 14 of their menstrual cycle, and have their period around 14 days later. Normally fertile women diagnose pregnancy based around their cycle and whether they have missed a period.  Once they miss their period they take a home pregnancy test, that’s the normal protocol.

When you’re doing IVF it is hard to predict your menstrual cycle.  The drugs throw it right off because they take control of your cycle and do weird things to it, and you also take drugs specifically to stop you ovulating.  I usually have a regular 26 day cycle, but my last period started 16th June which is 36 days ago.  I have no idea if I have ovulated this cycle – I don’t really understand that part – I think probably not.  So how am I supposed to know when to expect my period and therefore when to do a pregnancy test?  All of my usual markers are gone.

Well, instead of the normal way, the cycle is recalculated based on when your eggs were collected.  On an IVF thaw cycle (using frozen embryos) such as this one the cycle is recalculated again based on how old your embryos were when they froze them.  Mine were six days old.

I had the embryo transfer 11 days ago.  Many people seem to think this is early days, too soon to be testing, but it isn’t particularly.  In fact this is equivalent to 17 days past ovulation in a normal non-IVF cycle.  That is 11 days after the transfer, plus 6 days in the test tube three months ago.  And as I said most women get their period on day 28, 14 days after ovulation.  So, if I took a pregnancy test today this would be equivalent for a woman taking a pregnancy test about three days after she missed her period.

So my period is probably overdue.  Which means that the home pregnancy test I took yesterday is probably right, it boasts 99% accuracy from the day a woman’s period is due and I took it first thing in the morning which is the best time to do it.

BUT, it is not conclusive and there is a small chance it could be wrong.  Last time I did IVF I was using this same progesterone, and my period had started by this point.  But I have not started my period yet, nor do I have any of the usual symptoms that I get during my period such as plooky spots and fidgeting.  Instead, and unusually, my boobs hurt and are bigger, and I feel a bit sick on an off like motion sickness.  But these symptoms – and the late period – could be down to the progesterone and HRT drug combo.

The official pregnancy blood test at the IVF clinic is tomorrow (though it could have been any day since last Saturday – I took my home pregnancy test AFTER I could have had the test at the clinic), and this is a much more sensitive test than a home pregnancy urine test.  Given the negative home pregnancy test taken plenty late enough in the process I’m really not hopeful of a positive outcome, but you never know.