Pregnancy Testing
(HCG)

Alternate Names

  • Qualitatitve hCG
  • Quantitative hCG
  • Beta hCG
  • Total hCG
  • Total Beta hCG
  • Tumor Marker

Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is released by the fertilized egg after it is implanted in the uterus. Blood and urine levels of HCG can be measured as early as ten days after implantation; some tests are able to detect HCG levels as early as 3 days after implantation. HCG levels rise at specific normal levels according to the number of weeks of pregnancy. There are a number of different methods of pregnancy testing, but all measure HCG levels. Low blood or urine levels are seen in pregnant women whose pregnancy is threatened with miscarriage or their unborn baby has died, or following incomplete miscarriage where some tissue is retained. High blood and urine levels are also seen in ectopic pregnancy, ovarian or uterine cancer, testicular cancer in men, or liver cancer. HCG levels are also used as a tumor marker to detect the presence of cancer, or to monitor for recurrence following surgical removal of cancer. There are some drugs that can affect HCG test results.

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