positive home tests, negative blood

so. i am having a completely rotten TTC week. a few days ago, at six days post-ovulation, i took a home pregnancy test. i definitely wasn’t expecting anything that early–usually implantation doesn’t happen until at least 7DPO, & it takes a few days after that for enough pregnancy hormone to build up in the body to trigger a positive test. most early testers don’t get a positive until 9DPO.

so imagine my surprise when the test showed a very faint second line! i tested four or five more times that day, & ALL the tests showed two lines! i showed the tests to jared & even he saw them.

it’s faint, but it’s there!

i tested again the next morning & got a slightly darker line. i tested two more times that morning & got two more positive tests. i was pretty much out of my mind with excitement & hope. i decided to cut to the chase & ask my doctor for a blood test. the science claims that pregnancy hormone will show up in blood before it will show up in urine, so a blood test is more accurate than a home test. most ob-gyns & midwives want blood test confirmation before they consider a woman truly pregnant. & a qualitative blood test can detect as little as two or three units of hormone in the blood, while the most sensitive home tests available need at least ten unites before they become positive. i figured that if the hormone was showing up on home tests, surely my blood test would be positive.

i see a second line!

i had the blood draw on thursday, 7DPO. EXTREMELY early–some doctors refuse to do a blood test before a woman has missed her period. but my doctor gave the okay when i explained that i’d gotten eight positive home tests. i waited around on thursday afternoon for the nurse to call with the results, but she didn’t. i spent all morning yesterday clutching my phone & carrying it everywhere with me so i wouldn’t miss the call. i just KNEW she was going to be giving me good news. i continued to test, & all the tests continued to be positive. the lines continued to get darker (but were still very faint–which makes sense because i’m still so early).

it’s a little darker!

i tried going for a walk to clear my head & distract myself from waiting for the call, but it didn’t really work. i was so anxious about the call that i finally wound up bursting into tears. when i calmed down, i called the nurse & begged for the results. my usual ob-gyn & her nurse were out of the office, so i was speaking with a different nurse i didn’t know. she told me the results were back but they hadn’t yet been okayed by a doctor. she said she’d put in a request for the on-call doctor to review them & give permission for them to be released to me. we hung up & i paced around the house frantically until she called back twenty minutes later.

after a lot of brouhaha & exposition about how clomid works & when tests become positive in relation to ovulation (i wanted to yell, “cut to the chase, woman! this is not my first time at the rodeo!”), she gave me the results: negative. they did a qualitative beta & my pregnancy hormone level was less than one. not even a whisper of possible pregnancy.

she elaborated that i was still really early in my luteal phase & that i should call for another blood test if my period is more than four days late. as if i wouldn’t, hello.

i was so stunned that i couldn’t even cry. i reported the results to jared & then i went outside & sat on the porch & just stared into space. it was 90 degrees out, but i started shaking & feeling cold. my teeth were chattering. i think i literally went into shock. after a while i went back inside & laid down on the couch for an hour or so. when i started feeling less shaky, i got up & went online & ordered another round of ovulation tests  , & several different brands of home pregnancy tests. i have been testing with wondfos, & some people think they are unreliable & have a tendency to evap. an evap would be a gray or colorless line where the test line should be, a line that looks like an indentation & has no color, a splotchy & inconsistent test line, etc. every test i did featured a thick, pink, solid line. generally, an evap line that is thick & consistent will be colorless, & an evap line with color will be splotchy. ALL of my tests (& by that point, i had done around twenty) showed a perfect-looking positive line.

i did another test yesterday before bed. positive. i did two more tests this morning when i got up.

also positive. & the test line is plainly getting darker.

but a blood test is the gold standard. supposedly any positive urine test that is not supported with a positive blood test should be considered a false positive. false positives happen, but they’re extremely uncommon. evap lines happen, but they are also relatively uncommon. i have never heard of a woman getting twenty to thirty false positives or evap lines in a row. i used this same brand of test, & the same lot number, last cycle & i didn’t get any lines like this.

i’ve done some google sleuthing & i’ve found stories from other women who had positive home tests, negative blood tests, & were indeed pregnant. their bloodwork eventually became positive, but in some cases, it took weeks. i can’t figure out how this would work, from a science perspective. if the blood isn’t detecting pregnancy hormone, how could it possibly be in urine?

four years ago when i had my abortion, i took several home pregnancy tests. they were all positive. i went in for the abortion at six weeks & had an ultrasound done. the tech couldn’t find the embryo & insisted on giving me a blood test to confirm pregnancy. she told me the blood test came back “inconclusive” & referred me to the ER for a possible ectopic pregnancy. sometimes with ectopic pregnancies, the pregnancy hormone level is lower than it should be for gestational age (although the range of what’s considered “normal” for gestational age ranges pretty widely). i was panicked & went to the ER. they did another ultrasound there & found the embryo in my uterus right where it should be. its size correlated to suspected gestational age. i had the abortion a week or two later & never got another blood test, so i have no idea if another blood test would have shown unusually low levels or if i just had an incompetent tech or what.

i’m really confused & really sad. i can’t help testing, & my heart soars when i see that second line (EVERY test for the last three or four days has been positive), but i’m so confused by the negative blood test. my game plan for now is to just struggle through the next week or so, & if i’m still getting lines at 15DPO–especially if they continue to get darker–i’ll request a second blood test. but i’m pretty upset. i want to be excited about my pregnancy right now, not staring at positive tests, wondering if they’re real. this sucks.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

27 thoughts on “positive home tests, negative blood

  1. hey lady – it’s muffalish – you left such a smart and kind response on xojane to me, thank YOU. Love your blog, will point anyone I know who is hard at work at the babymaking to this.

    1. thank YOU for taking the time to ask the question! it’s amazing how many people just jump into “trying to help” & never stop to think that their efforts could be doing more harm than good! i’m glad i could help out.

  2. The exact same thing happened to me two years ago and it was heart wrenching. I ended up going back to the doctor a week after I did miss my period and retested, got a positive. Now I have a toddler. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Best to you.

  3. Oh man! Ciara, keep us posted! I have had a long-standing thesis that analog hpts are actually more sensitive than blood tests. I’m not sure exactly how that shakes out scientifically, either, but who cares. That’s also an interesting story about your last pregnancy’s hormones being possibly low-ish or difficult to detect. It SUCKS enormously that all you can do it wait, right now, but I’ll be waiting with you! At the very least, we know one thing for certain: doctor’s kinda don’t know shit about our bodies, so fuck that blood test for now! Take care and I’ll be checking this blog every day.

    1. we’re still keeping it quiet on the internet, but i’m going to take a chance on not too many people looking at the comments on a blog post that is several days old…the blood test was indeed wrong. i’m three weeks, six days right now. i’ll be posting a LOT more about all of this once i can convince jared to let me go crazy screaming it from the rooftops. stay tuned!

  4. Just pmed you on tww. Silently freaking out for you. (Not so silently in my message though 😉

  5. Congrats times a thousand on your pregnancy, that’s fantastic news!!

    Thanks for writing such an honest, detailed, and helpful blog about trying to conceive. I just started trying about a month ago, and it’s a relief to have found a blog on the subject that’s smart, informative, and written in a voice I can actually relate to. I found your blog through your comments on xoJane, and am so glad I did.

    Best wishes for a healthy and amazing pregnancy!

    1. thank you! & good luck trying! i hope it doesn’t take you too long. if you ever want someone to dish with about the dizzying highs, the terrifying lows, & the sweet creamy middles, you know where to find me!

  6. YES! Congratulations! I just happened to check the comments and what comments these are. Huzzah for false negatives!

    1. thanks! man, way more people look at the comments than i expected. i REALLY need to get jared to give the green light because the news is getting out anyway.

  7. Congrats!
    (Longtime reader first time commenter here.)
    I have no idea about my own fertility, having never been pregnant, but we’re going to be trying next year and I’ve been a little worried because I feel like I am “older” because I will be 33 then. Your “how to stay sane while ttc” guide was very helpful just for laying all these acronyms out that I see all the time.

    1. i wouldn’t sweat being 33 while trying. women’s fertility obviously has an expiration date, but early 30s is still fine. i’m 32, for reference. & i don’t think my age had anything to do with whatever weird fertility issues kept us from getting pregnant on our first nine tries.

      i just read a book called “the impatient woman’s guide to getting pregnant” & i thought it was really good & possibly useful to someone just getting started with the whole TTC thing. obviously i read it after i already knew i was pregnant, just to kind of check it out for others. i wish it had been released like a year sooner! i actually learned from it! if you can track a copy down, it might be helpful to you.

      1. Yeah, I’m actually not that worried about my age except that I am. I’m a person who likes to plan things as soon as I decide to do them (and ideally do it RIGHT THEN), so having to wait until next year to start the babymaking is making me antsy which means I pick up worries and thoughts and things.
        Thanks for the book reccommend! My library has it on order so I’ve put it on hold.

  8. I need your help. I bought 50 wondfo’s. First 30 were BFN. These past 4 days I have been getting a light positive on 18 within the time limit. So I went to get a blood test and they said negative! So I took my last 2 wondfo’s and a darker positive than before! I’m heading out to buy digitals and frer. Why did your blood pregnancy test come out negative? Do you think mine was wrong also? TIA

    1. i get this question A LOT. i don’t usually reply because i just don’t know what to say. i don’t know why my blood test came back negative, but i was definitely pregnant & i now have a six-month-old to prove it. my doctor did another blood test three weeks later which was positive.

  9. Hi Ciara, Just stumbled on your blog tonight. In March I found out I was pregnant- conceived in February; in March, at 6 weeks I miscarried and have been ttc ever since. Yesterday I took a hpt and I had one strong line, one faint. With the similar feelings I had previously I began to suspect and hope that I was pregnant again. Today, which is now 12 dpo I asked for a blood test. I work at a hospital so I saw the results before speaking to my doctor (I suppose to call them tomorrow.) The blood tests said I was less than miu/ml hcg – which means no pregnancy detected. I’ve been combing the Internet all night because I am having a difficult time believing that I am not pregnant. Finding your blog and your story is making me very very hopeful that indeed it is just too early for the blood test that it is incorrect. Even when I told the nurse on the phone that I had one faint line one dark line she said “I have no doubt you are pregnant” — to see my blood results later on were quite disheartening as you understand. Finding your blog gives me hope that I am pregnant and maybe I should pick up a couple more hpt!


    1. as i have told other people that commented on this, i don’t know why my blood test was negative. i will say that i started to get positive home tests–very FAINT positives, but they say a line is a line–at 5 DPO. the blood test that was wrong was at 6 or 7 DPO. home tests were unequivocally positive by 8 DPO & home digital tests were positive at 10 DPO. my doctor’s office refused to do a second blood test until three weeks after the mistaken one, so by the time they actually confirmed the pregnancy with a blood test, i was like six weeks pregnant.

      i still don’t know what happened. was the blood test too soon? but wouldn’t a blood test show a positive result before a home test? did they mix my file up with someone else’s? i’d had other suspected pregnancies during my TTC journey, & the blood tests were always negative, & they were always correct. i wasn’t pregnant. it’s really unusual for a blood test to be wrong…but obviously it does happen.

  10. Hi,
    I came across your blog through Google images. I wanted to make sure other women knew that these tests are not positive. The lines visible in your photos are not in the right place to indicate pregnancy.
    The line which indicates a positive test is highter on the strip (close to the test line). The colour shown in these images is under the flap. This area is where the run-off from the test line pools.

    So, if you get a line as these images show, it is not a positive for pregnancy. If you get a line higher up (above the flap) it is positive.

    Good luck everyone 🙂

    1. that’s nice, but i actually was pregnant (i now have the 18-month-old to prove it) & continued to test with wondfos until i was around eight weeks pregnant. the clearly positive tests looked just like these, except darker.

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