Saturday, February 13, 2021

Doctor, my HCG level is 120 mIU/ml. Does this confirm my pregnancy is healthy ?


One of  the commonest questions which patients ask me is about their HCG level .

Doctor, my HCG level is 120 mIU/ml. Does this confirm my pregnancy is healthy ?

 Now you cannot determine whether the pregnancy is healthy or not based on a single HCG level. We need to measure at least two HCG levels , 2-3 days apart, to see whether it's doubling well or not . If it’s doubling, this is a good sign , which means the embryonic cells are growing well.

However, even this does not tell us if the pregnancy is viable or not, because the HCG is produced by that part of the embryo which is called the trophectoderm , which becomes the future placenta. The baby , on the other hand, develops from the cells of the inner cell mass, which means even if the HCG levels are doubling well , this doesn't necessarily mean that the baby is developing normally.

 This is why it’s so important to understand the limitations of all this testing, and not to get too excited with the results.

Remember that when we test for the health of an IVF pregnancy, we need to measure both the HCG levels, as well as do an ultrasound scan. These are complementary, and need to be interpreted together.

In an early pregnancy, when the HCG level is less than 1000 mIU/ml, there is no point in doing an ultrasound scan , because the pregnancy is too small to be seen on an ultrasound scan.

Once the HCG crosses 1000 mIU/ml, then the scan provides much more information about the viability of the pregnancy.

 Yes, I know this can be a little complex and intimidating , but if you know when and why we do these tests, you will have a much easier time interpreting these results . It’s never enough to leave everything up to your doctor


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