The difference between a chemical pregnancy and a false pregnancy.

We often see patients who have done an IVF cycle elsewhere, and who get a positive pregnancy test result. They are ecstatic when they are told by the doctor that they're pregnant. However, their HCG levels are usually between 30 mIU/ml - 100 mIU/ml or so, and they never cross more than 100 mIU/ml. They may increase a little bit , and they then drop. The ultrasound scan never shows a pregnancy sac, and they never end up with a baby.

This is the story line their doctor feeds them. You had a chemical pregnancy. What this means is that your IVF cycle was successful, and the embryo we transferred for you did implant, but unfortunately, you miscarried. This was a very early pregnancy, but the fact that you got pregnant means my IVF treatment worked ! Don't worry , we will do another cycle for you, and I am sure it will work this time. We will run some special tests to find out why you miscarried, and change your treatment accordingly , so you have a better chance of having a baby the next time. They then order expensive tests such as ERA ( endometrial receptivity assay ) , NK cell tests; PAMP tests and TB PCR tests , to convince patients that they are on the right track.

The tragedy is that it's very easy to cheat patients by exploiting their ignorance, which is what these doctors are doing. When I review the medical records, I find that these doctors routinely give all their patients HCG injections ( such as Sifassi , Choragon and Ovitrelle) after the embryo transfer .
Now if you give the patients an HCG injection and then do a blood test to measure her HCG levels, of course the HCG test is going to be positive. We could her husband pregnant as well by giving him the HCG injection ! This is not really a pregnancy, and it's definitely not a chemical pregnancy. It is what I call a false pregnancy or a pseudo-pregnancy - a pregnancy which is created artificially by giving an HCG injection in order to fool the patient .

Please don't get taken in for a ride. If your doctor wants to give you an HCG injection and then do the HCG test, you should worry a lot !

Not sure your IVF doctor is giving you good advice ? I am happy to give you a free second opinion to help you ensure you are getting good medical care . Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at so that I can guide you !
Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.