Tag Archives: false positives

13 Rules for Peeing On A Stick

1. Pee on the stick or dip the stick for the amount of time the test instructions state, not over, not under, follow the instructions exactly.

2. Don’t sit the test down and wander off for a few hours, or jump in the shower  (filling your bathroom with steam) or do anything that will stop you looking at the test until long past the time you’re supposed to.

3. If you take a shower or wander off discount the results unless it’s an absolute blaring set of pink lines. Staring at any “oh is that a line?” will just lead to headaches. Back before the industrial revolution many people working as seamstresses, makers of pins or makers of dolls, ended up going blind because of the strain put on their eyes by this precise and delicate work. In the modern age lots of women are now suffering from this phenomenon due to staring endlessly at the colourless test lines on pee sticks.

4. If you can’t photograph it, then it probably isn’t there – obviously this excludes people that just don’t know how to use a macro setting or plain just don’t own a camera. If you do own a camera, know how to turn the flash off and use the macro setting and you just can’t line to photograph, it isn’t a line. As Bucks Fizz once sang “the camera never lies.”

5. Just because you CAN get it to photograph doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a true line either.

6. Positive lines are PINK (I’m purposely excluding blue line tests here because I believe they are the devil), and are the SAME thickness as the control line.

7. No test is completely blank, there is always something there. The antibody strip that is the test line is not invisible and when it’s wet (and sometimes when it’s dried) you can see it. It is colourless or grey.

8. Tests vary in their sensitivities and not all HPTs are created equal. You can get a positive on your very sensitive internet cheapy and then a negative on a branded test or a digital. You are pregnant, you just don’t have enough HCG in your urine for the less sensitive, more expensive tests to work.

9. HCG doubles in 48 – 73 hours. Leave it at least 2 days before testing again.

10. You POAS and get a line, two hours later you pee again and the line is fainter. This is not a sign of an impending miscarriage, how dilute your urine is (and the type of test you use, the amount of dye in it etc.) can all effect how the test looks. Leave it two days and test again.

11. It takes 7 – 10 days for implantation to occur. Any symptoms you experience before 7 DPO at the earliest are probably down to hormone fluctuations/infection/temperature/the phases of the moon. It is physically impossible to have pregnancy symptoms BEFORE implantation

12. You cannot make a test positive through sheer power of will…. if only.

13. If you are me, you daily disregard all of the above.

In Conclusion

There was one test left in the packet so I did it this morning, not because I think I am pregnant or anything of the like but I just wanted to see if I would get a second line again, and I did. I looked over the packaging and couldn’t find CE marks or Kite Marks so they truly are the biggest pile of rubbish.

There wasn’t even a hint of asparagus about my morning wee so I conclude it’s not that. I feel sorry for anyone who has bought these tests that doesn’t have my obsessive streak. I was sceptical from the start. I think it would have been much harder if I had taken it as a genuine BFP.

But it’s all behind me now and I’m moving onwards.

I’ve decided to give soy isoflavones a go. I picked up a pack of them yesterday. The idea if that they trick your body into thinking that your oestrogen is low and so stimulates the hormones involved in ovulation. They’ve been called “natural clomid”, and like clomid, you take them for just 5 days. You are supposed to do this at the beginning of your cycle. As I am in the interesting position of not having a cycle it’s hard for me to judge when to take them so (in true scientific fashion) I decided bugger it and took my first dose last night. Yesterday I took 80mg, today and tomorrow I will take 120mg and then 160mg on Wednesday and Thursday.

My vitamin regime is getting more complicated. Currently I’m taking

  • 50mg of vitamin b6 to balance hormones and promote a proper length luteal phase
  • 1000mg of evening primrose oil to promote production and increase quality of cervical mucus (Gwads I hate that term, cervical fluid is really no better. Gross).
  • 400µg of Folic acid – an important DNA precursor and important for preventing neural tube defects
  • 800mg of agnus castus – not pictured because I ran out.
  • and the soy isoflavones regime described above

I’ve had to drop my reflexology sessions in the meantime though because my therapist friend fell and broke her wrist last weekend.

I’ll admit I am a bit dubious about using the soy isoflavones because I don’t think that I know enough about them and I have found zero information appropriate to women in my particular situation but I’m figuring that I’ll take them for these 5 days, see what happens and if nothing does I’ll wait until my period finally shows to try them again.

Can’t hurt to try, I hope.

TTC makes babies – also craziness

I went to my doctor yesterday and had a chat about everything that has been going on the last few days. It was an odd experience. It was the same doctor that I saw last time but a totally different experience. She asked me when I had my last period and I told her “December…. 2008.” She seemed very surprised and asked why that was, so I explained about the intervening pregnancy and the 21 months of breastfeeding that followed. I thought she knew that, I mean we had a chat about it all last time I was there. She then told me I’d have to wean my youngest if I was pregnant because I couldn’t tandem feed, though at my last appointment she had asked me if I’d thought about tandem feeding. Odd.

Anyway she agreed to do a beta HCG blood test and I am now patiently waiting for the results.

I am not holding out much hope. I did more tests this morning and they are negative. This time it was a tesco test (I believe they are 25 mIu) and then a First Response (which I believe are 40 mIu). Both negative. I’d take photos but my son threw my camera across the kitchen yesterday and it’s quite possibly beyond repair. Anyway, I’m not sure that taking a photo would help as I’d only spend 20 minutes zooming in and inverting the colours and giving myself line eyes. I expect that the beta hcg test is going to be negative. Of course I hope that it isn’t, but I suspect that it will be.

The teeny part of me that is still hopeful has been inventing all sorts of fantasies where it turns out that I am pregnant. It’s shouting at me and waving it’s arms and saying “you’ve been feeling sick!” (have I? it could be entirely psychosomatic), “you’ve been very congested! and even had a nose bleed, that never happens!” (true progesterone can constrict or is it dilate??? the blood vessels in the nasal passages making you feel all stuffed up) “you’ve had cramping!” (maybe I just need more fibre?) “you’ve been so tired lately!” (well of course I’ve been tired. I’ve been cleaning every nook and cranny of my house every day for almost 4 weeks now, and caring for 2 toddlers, a 9 year old and occasionally a 7 year old nephew, and that’s not even counting the mental exhaustion from taking tests, staring at tests, googling things about tests, posting on forums about tests and emailing my best friend photos of tests).

The final thing my irrational brain is throwing up is “what if the pound shop tests were super, super sensitive? like 6 mIU, and even then if it’d doubled you’d only have 12 mIU, or if they were 10 mIu, it would only have doubled to 20 and still be below the 25 mIU of all those other tests you bought….”


I still think it was the asparagus you know.

I actually googled “can asparagus cause a false positive?”

I found some forums where people said “yes! yes! it can!”

I will report back later on the beta hcg results but in the meantime my scientific mind is just dying to know. I’m going to buy some more asparagus and some more of those pound shop tests and see what happens.

A girl needs a hobby!

Adventures in Pee Sticks Part 3

I hate to admit it, but I think I was right in my initial assessment that pound shop tests are not to be trusted.

I did 3 tests this morning. An Asda own brand test (supposedly accurate from 4 days before your period is due)

A Predictor test (supposedly accurate from 5 days before your period is due)

And then (even though I know they are not very sensitive) I cracked out a clear blue digital

There’s maybe a faint line on the Asda test, and maybe a fainter line on the predictor but it’s probably just the test strip I’m seeing. There are 3 possible explanations to what is going on here

  1. Pound Shop tests are shite and their manufacturers are bastards.
  2. I’ve had a chemical pregnancy. An egg was fertilized and started to implant, produced a small amount of HCG but then failed.
  3. The pound shop test was in fact incredibly sensitive and I am extremely early in this whole pregnancy process – BUT given that I got the first “positive” test two days ago I would have expected the HCG levels to have doubled by now and for it to be detectable in some reliable form by a branded early test.

Another possibility, I suppose, but not one I would want to contemplate would be that I am pregnant but it is ectopic and thus the hcg levels aren’t doubling properly. I really hope this is not the case.

Finally (and I’m not including these last ones in the “official” list of reasons above is – according to random ladies of the internet (and no scientific evidence that I can find at all) there is one school of thought that thinks breastmilk sort of mops up random excesses of hormone. Some ladies swear they found it impossible to get a positive urine test when breastfeeding because all the HCG ended up in their breast milk instead of in their urine. I think this is even more unlikely, largely because I don’t want to turn desperate thinking that despite all the evidence to the contrary I’m still in with a chance.

However – I do have an appointment to see my GP this morning and I’m going to ask her to do a beta HCG blood test. I would like to know if I actually have any HCG in my system at all so that I can put this whole experience down to either 1 or 2.

On the plus side (if there is a plus side to this) if it is down to number 2 and I have had a chemical pregnancy, at least I’ll know that I’m finally getting my cycle back and I’ll have something to work with.

When I started this I didn’t want to get neurotic or crazy or obsessive. I certainly didn’t want to spend a small fortune on pee sticks (I’ve been near bankrupted as it is with vet bills and the on going flea war. Stupid cat).

Dear reader, I have failed.

Adventures in Pee Sticks Part 2

Well in the spirit of scientific investigation I got more of the pound shop tests. I dipped one in a sample of first morning urine (yes, it’s gross that I kept a sample), another 1 in a sample of second morning urine, and I then got my best friend to do a test and (because I’m fairly certain he’s not pregnant) my husband to do a test.



The result is my two tests (the ones on the bottom) both have lines, though the second morning urine one is very faint. The other two have one line, so we can conclude that neither my husband or a best friend are pregnant.

But am I???

I swiftly ran (that’s a lie, I drove, well I was passenger in a car) to what is really not the closest store to me to buy more tests.

45 minutes later I picked up 2 more sets of pound shop tests, 2 clearblue digitals, 2 first response tests, 2 predictor tests and 2 asda own brand and 2 tesco own brand tests.

I did the tesco test – bfn.

The asda test – bfn.

The different brand of pound shop – I think BFN, there’s maybe a very faint line there

Same pound shop test as the others – BFP, but quite faint.

I honestly don’t know what to think.


Adventures in Pee Sticks

It’s coming up to my son’s 3rd birthday soon and he has announced that he would like a lego cake. I’m fairly new to baking, it’s only really been in the last year that I’ve truly tackled cakes and bread and bagels and the like. I decided that I probably needed a test run to work out how exactly to make a lego cake so I set off to Tesco yesterday to get the ingredients.

After I picked them up I was mulling around the shopping centre and I went into the Pound Shop for the mooch. I spotted a stack of pregnancy tests for the princely sum of £1.30 each. So along with a giant Hannah Montana savings tin (I have a 9 year old daughter) I took a box of pregnancy tests up to the till and finished up my shopping trip.

I’m not really sure why I bought them. Fertility Friend still doesn’t believe I’ve ovulated. I don’t believe I’ve ovulated, but I’d been feeling a little sick and a little crampy and a little headachey and well… they cost £1.30.

I went home, started making the cake and forgot all about the test until a few hours later when nature called.

Now, Pound Shop tests don’t inspire me with confidence. I know it’s a snobby thing, I think we’re all sort of inclined to think non-branded items are a bit below par (though I can attest since the recession began I’ve fully embraced the own brand products when I’m shopping).

And above is the test. It shows some fancy dan looking pee sticks on the cover, believe me the contents do not reflect that. Inside it contained two of those little strips that you have to collect your urine to dip them in to rather than just whizzing directly. They are commonly known as internet cheapies as you can buy stacks of them on ebay or similar. There is much debate about how accurate they are and how prone they are to evaporation lines but every hardened TTC-er will have bought them at some point. Some even have huge stockpiles of them.

Anyhew I did the first test. It looked like this

There is a line there and it appeared right away. Faint but definitely there. I went into a bit of a flap and texted my best friend and co-POAS addict to shout “Dude! Dude!!! I need you dude!!! I think I’ve got a BFP”

My husband was out at the time you see, and he is not a fan of squinting at my pee sticks.

My friend duly raced over with some Superdrug tests (reported to have a high sensitivity, of 10 miu). Of course my pee was much more dilute now than it had been when I took the first test so I got myself a BFN.

Then I did what all sensible people do. I held my wee for four hours and did the other cheap test I had sitting in the bathroom cabinet. I got this

This time it’s pretty obvious. A lovely pink line. Even my husband could see it from across the table and he didn’t sigh or shake his head at me once. He seemed fairly convinced that it was indeed a positive. He then began to muse that maybe I didn’t ovulate but his superior sperm just kicked in an ovary and dragged an egg out – because he’s that good.

Yes dear.

I still didn’t want to believe it though. The line is there because the test is faulty, it’s there because the test was cheap, it was there because I had asparagus for lunch and had the wicked smelling asparagus pee. I did go to bed last night feeling a wee glimmer of hope.

First thing this morning I tested again.

I got this

Nada. Zlich. Bugger all. BFN.

Well maybe a shadow, maybe if I squint and turn my eyes inside out I can maybe see a little something.

And now all it is sporting is a rather fine evaporation line.

I just knew it was too good to be true.

I’m a bit gutted and I really don’t know what to think. Maybe asparagus does cause false positives?

My plan for today is to return to that Pound Shop, but there is method in my madness. I am going to buy 3 tests. I will pee on one, my non-pregnant best friend will pee on another and finally I shall make my husband pee on the third. If we all get lines then I know the tests are dud and at the very last it will save me from splashing out on fancy dan expensive tests. No pun intended with the splashing out.