So, a line is a line? No matter how faint and regardless of color intensity. Well, at least that’s what we have always been told by our Doctors, friends, family and even certain websites. If you Google it – it must be true! I was absolutely a firm believer in this myself, until recently. Some well known name brands of HPT’s (Home Pregnancy Tests ) will give you the specific concentration of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) the pregnancy hormone secreted once the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterine lining – the average Test ranging from 25miu to 40miu. And then there are some, that won’t.
Nowadays, several brands advertise that their tests can detect pregnancy 6 days sooner! Wow how technology has changed a lot since these tests first came out. Specifically one of the most well known, First Response Early Response. Also known as, “FRER.” It’s a (Pink Dye Test) and most of us have recommended it to someone else at some point or another, especially if you’re actively TTC (Trying To Conceive). It’s always been our go-to brand! Known as one of the most reliable.
Well recently in our lovely little Facebook Group, the sensitivity actually came into question. There have been consumer studies that have suggested that although it’s sensitivity is 25miu – it can detect as little as 12.5miu, or even as low as 6.5miu. Talk about being sensitive! Most of us going through that TTC journey, (as stressful as it can be) tend to track our CM (Cervical Mucus ) our CP (Cervical Position ) and of course our BBT (Basal Body Temperature ). Which is known as Charting! And since we now can pinpoint exactly when Ovulation occurs through Blood Work and a higher Shift in our temperatures, we now also have a better idea as to when we can start testing for pregnancy. Of course the closer you are to your missed period, the more reliable the results will be. Our LP (Luteal Phase) generally remains the same from cycle to cycle and is about 12-14 days on average for most women – although it can range anywhere from 10-16 days realistically. Implantation usually occurs anywhere between 6-12dpo. So with that being said, most on average usually start testing around 8-9dpo and continue until they get their BFP (Big Fat Positive) or until the dreadful Period rears her ugly face. That can usually be predicted with a drop in temps as Estrogen is responsible for the first part of our cycle known as the FP (Follicular Phase) and in order to sustain a healthy pregnancy, progesterone is needed and will dominate the second half once Ovulation occurs. Because Progesterone is a heat inducing hormone, it causes the temperature rise once Ovulation occurs.
Now the only thing about testing early, is you need to have a highly sensitive test! If you are in fact pregnant, you can get a ton of false negatives using 40-50miu tests that early on, as it may take several days after implantation occurs to produce enough HCG to register positive on a test. That’s usually when First Response comes into play! Being one of the most sought after tests and known for their accuracy and (again) reliability.
They are (Midstream Tests) and fairly easy to use. You should always read the instructions thoroughly before using any HPT to avoid misinterpreting the results or even to prevent common user errors. With these, you can put the absorbent tip inside your urine stream, or you can collect a urine sample in sanitary clean cup. I usually opt to collect mine in a clean cup, so if I notice the sample isn’t concentrated enough, I can dump it and try again later – as to avoid wasting a test. They also just came out with a newer model, and it resembles the Clearblue Easy Blue Dye Test!
It advertises a 50% wider tip, Easy to Read Window and a longer handle. Unfortunately I haven’t had an opportunity to try one, but I’m sure it’ll make going pee a bit more fun! Ha Ha….
Now, for the bitter sweet news. I am very shocked and dissapointed with what we have found out recently. The admin in our group, who also runs her very own blogging site (Love Echoes Forever ) and a truly amazing one I might add – decided to call the First Response Manufacturer directly to inquire about the sensitivity of their HCG tests, which also may include their Digital Gold.
In regards to their digital, it’s still a bit inconclusive as from Consumer Studies and information we have found on other various websites, the sensitivity for that specific test is indicated at 18miu. I was a bit shocked with the outcome of their Pink Dye Test, which is a bit more common. So here is a quote, from Monique.
“OK, the number I called is the number they have on their insert.
I chose all the options for the First Response Early Results test. Then after listening to all the information, I chose 0, to speak to customer service.
I talked to Betsy. She told me the information on sensitivity level is proprietary information. But the test is quantitive not qualitative & any amount of of hCG in your system can result in a second line.”
So, what does that mean exactly?? Well…. (in a nutshell) – It’s actually very similar to getting a blood test done, which many of us do whenever we get a positive result on a HPT. Now there are two different types of HCG blood tests that your PCP, OB, or even RE can order. The most common is a Qualitative Test, which is common to most urine tests. You need a certain concentration of HCG in your system in order for that test to come back as Positive. It simply says, YES you are Pregnant, or NO you are not. Now a Quantitive Test will give you specific numbers. No matter how much or how little HCG you have in your system, that test will give you a count. Anything below 5miu is considered non-pregnant levels of HCG. Anything usually at 5-25miu will require a redraw, and anything above 25miu is considered positive for pregnancy.
Now with that being said, the First Response Test doesn’t have a specific concentration needed! I believe it is Quantitative which means that ANY AMOUNT of the hormone found in your system, will cause a 2nd line to produce. Even amounts that are technically considered to be Not Pregnant, which would be anything under 5miu.
(A debate also entails that it could be Qualitative with a threshold of zero)
The unfortunate thing about that, is there are other factors that can cause SOME levels of HCG to be circulating throughout our system at all times. Not saying that applies to everyone. But for some, yes.
– Pre Menopause can cause elevated levels of HCG
– Any medication(s) containing small trace amounts of HCG
– Some Fertility medications
– The HCG Trigger Shot
– Certain Cysts
– Even certain Cancers
Now, for the majority of those who are NOT actively TTC, this probably won’t effect them as much since they typically wouldn’t test until after their period was late. Normally by that time, you’ve accumulated a high enough concentration to form a nice, dark, unmistakable line. So in this case, the test can still be considered reliable.
As for those of us who on the other hand are ACTIVELY TTC, that’s where the problem comes in. We tend to test early, and that means (again) that an expected FAINT line which would normally be acceptable that early on in pregnancy, could very well be a FALSE LINE! Which in the end can cause tons of false hope and can be truly heartbreaking! So honestly, this truly upsets me. I am starting to believe, “A line is a line no matter how faint or the color intensity,” is going to truly become a thing of the past soon. Other brands will certainly want to keep up with the competition and I truly believe more and more manufacturers will start to convert their tests that way.
This is my advice to anyone who attempts to use a First Response, treat it as an OPK (Ovulation Predictor Kits) where when you see the line is equal to or darker than the control line, it’s considered positive! And my other advice, follow up with a Blood Test!
Last but not least – ALWAYS read the manufacturers instructions thoroughly before taking a test!
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