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IVF For the Uninitiated Part III March 22, 2008

Posted by The Mom in IVF for Dummies.

Someone asked me what a beta is so here we are:

hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) is the pregnancy hormone (no idea why the h is small) and it is the thing that a home pregnancy test picks up. It is produced by the embryo when it implants into the uterine lining and goes on to be produced by the placenta later on in pregnancy. It is pumped into the blood from the embryo and from the blood is metabolised in the kidneys into the urine, hence the reason why it can be detected by a pee stick. A home pregnancy test is qualitative, in that it only tells you that there is (or is not) hCG in your urine. It does not tell you how much there is (although the sensitivity of the test and darkness of the line can give you a better idea of the level of the hormone than just saying “Yes it is there”).

A бhCG (that is a Greek beta at the start) is a blood test which quantifies how much hCG is in your blood.

Serum hCG should double every 48 – 72 hours in early pregnancy and that doubling is a requirement of being an “ongoing” pregnancy.

Both of my previous miscarriages happened at a time when the embryo could no longer sustain itself without the placenta but the placenta wasn’t doing enough to sustain the embryo.

The reason for me having two betas is to confirm that this is an ongoing pregnancy so that I can start synthetic hCG shots. The reason for the hCG shots is to try to fool my body (and the embryo) into believing that everything is OK. Ideally the shots will get me past the point where the placenta is not performing up to scratch and allow the placenta & embryo to reach a point where they are working together.



1. x Chicky - March 22, 2008

Still here 😀
Hoping, praying, reading, delighting in the updates.
Is the next beta still a beta or is it a gamma?
I think too much about this. :S

Always in my prayers, L. Take care of you and make a good bum-dent in that sofa.

x Chicky

2. Laura - March 22, 2008

A repeat beta is just that. It doesn’t get as interesting as a gamma.

3. CLiona - March 22, 2008

Thanks Laura!

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