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Hcg Test

Hcg Test

Test Overview

The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) test is done to check for the hormone hCG in blood or urine. Some hCG tests measure the exact amount. Some just check to see if the hormone is present. HCG is made by the placenta during pregnancy. The test can be used to see if a woman is pregnant. Or it can be done as part of a screening test for birth defects.

HCG may also be made by certain tumors, especially those that come from an egg or sperm. (These are called germ cell tumors.) HCG levels are often tested in a woman who may have tissue that is not normal growing in her uterus. The test also may be done to look for molar pregnancy or a cancer inside the uterus. Several hCG tests may be done after a miscarriage to be sure a molar pregnancy is not present. In a man, hCG levels may be measured to help see if he has cancer of the testicles .

What is the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) blood test?

The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) blood test measures the level of hCG hormone present in a sample of your blood.

hCG is produced during pregnancy. Your doctor may refer to the hCG blood test by another name, such as the:

  • beta-hCG blood test
  • quantitative blood pregnancy test
  • quantitative hCG blood test
  • quantitative serial beta-hCG test
  • repeat quantitative beta-hCG test

There are important differences between hCG blood tests and the hCG urine tests that you can purchase over the counter.

Urine tests can be influenced by factors such as dehydration and the time of day that you test, while an hCG blood test can provide conclusive results even in cases where hCG levels are quite low.

Why is the hCG blood test performed?

The hCG blood test is performed to:

  • confirm pregnancy
  • determine the approximate age of the fetus
  • diagnose an abnormal pregnancy, such as an ectopic pregnancy
  • diagnose a potential miscarriage
  • screen for Down syndrome

HCG urine tests

HCG urine tests are usually used for regular pregnancy testing. The test does not measure the exact amount of hCG, but it shows if hCG is present. Home versions of this test are easy to find and buy.

HCG Tests

Two types of blood pregnancy tests are available:

A qualitative hCG test simply checks to see if hCG is present. It gives a "yes" or "no" answer to the question, "Are you pregnant?" Doctors often order these tests to confirm pregnancy as early as 10 days after a missed period. Some of these tests can detect hCG much earlier.

A quantitative hCG test (beta hCG) measures the exact amount of hCG in your blood. It can find even very low levels of hCG. Because these pregnancy tests can measure the concentration of hCG, they may be helpful in tracking any problems during pregnancy. They may also (in combination with other tests) be used to rule out a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy or to monitor a woman after a miscarriage when hCG levels fall rapidly.

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