blood test is one of the easiest medical tests to interpret.
This is because it is a very special molecule, which is produced only by the
placenta during pregnancy, for all practical purposes. (Very rarely, it can be
produced by certain tumors, but these are so uncommon that we can safely ignore
them). What this means is that the presence of hCG in the blood (or in the urine)
means that the patient is pregnant. Of course, it doesn't tell us anything about
the health of the pregnancy, or its location.
major problem with interpreting the hCG result is that most people think
negative means zero . They conclude that if the level is 7, this means that it
is positive and they are pregnant. Unfortunately, this is not true , and a
negative hCG is any level of less than 10 mIU/ml. This means that if the level
is less than 10 mIU/ml, we can conclude that the patient is not pregnant.
a lot of women get confused by their results ( and sometimes doctors and the labs as well) add to this confusion by saying – Hey, look, your level is 11 ,
which means it’s a positive result and you are pregnant ! If you are confused,
remember that hCG levels should not be seen in isolation. While one figure
does give valuable information , serial HCG levels are far more useful, because
the levels will keep on rising and doubling every 48 to 72 hours in a healthy
couples are often willing to move heaven and earth in order to have a baby.
However, I find to my dismay that a lot of them do things which actually end up
reducing their fertility!
They use lubricants while having sex which kill the sperm. Having "baby
making sex" on demand is not much fun for either husband or wife - and
it's quite common to have to use lubricants in order to be able to achieve
intravaginal penetration. However, many couples will use lubricants such as K-Y
jelly or saliva - both of which can kill the sperm! If you do need to use a
lubricant, please use a sperm friendly lubricant. The easiest one to buy (and
the cheapest one) is liquid paraffin. It' easy available OTC at a chemist -
just look under the laxatives!
Timing sex. Most couples know that the wife is fertile for only a few days
during the entire month. However, because they are quite clueless about what
these fertile days actually are ( and do not whom to ask or how to calculate
them), they often end up having sex on Day 14 ( which they remember vaguely
from their high school biology class on human reproduction ( when they weren't
busy pretending to be blase because they " knew it all" ; or were
giggling and blushing) is the day when ovulation occurs and the egg is
released). However, for many women, Day 14 can actually be an "infertile day”
(for example, for women whose cycles are 25 days or less).
having enough sex. Many wives refuse to allow their husbands to have sex until
their "peak fertility day". They believe that if they "store up
the sperm" and then discharge this with a big bang, their chances of
getting pregnant increase. Actually, this is not true. You cannot really store
up the sperm - the count does go up when ejaculation is delayed - but it's the
immotile sperm which increase - not the motile ones! It's far more efficient t
have frequent sex, as long as the sperm are going in the vagina!
Many infertile women still use BBT charting to try to track their
fertile day. This is a big, big mistake. While BBT charting does provide useful
evidence to the doctor , it's only retrospective evidence - it does not help to
identify the fertile days, as the BBT raises only after ovulation has occurred
( at which time the cervical mucus dries up and sperm can no longer enter the
uterus and swim up to the egg).
doing any homework. It still astonishes me as to how poorly informed many
infertile couples are about the basics of baby making! They will often waste
time trying herbs and supplements advertised on dodgy websites to "boost
their sperm count"; or take "fertility tablets" to increase
their fertility. They will allow months to run into years before seeking
medical attention - or even doing a basic (and inexpensive) fertility
workup, to confirm that everything this fine.