Many may not be familiar with the term, “chemical pregnancy” also known as a “biochemical pregnancy”. A chemical pregnancy is recognized as a very early pregnancy loss and is quite common. However, if you’ve suffered two chemical pregnancies in a row, you may wonder if there’s a fertility concern that is keeping you from achieving a healthy pregnancy. This is understandable and, in this blog, we’re hoping to walk you through the basics and your options.
Two Chemical Pregnancies in a Row: What is a Chemical Pregnancy to begin with?
If you’ve gotten a positive pregnancy test and then, a week or so later, the pregnancy test is now negative, this would be considered a chemical pregnancy. A chemical pregnancy takes place before an ultrasound could detect a pregnancy. If you’ve experience two chemical pregnancies in a row, it can be emotionally frustrating and confusing but what exactly happened?
If an egg is fertilized after ovulation, the now developing embryo will attempt to implant in the uterus. When this happens, as the pregnancy progresses, a hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is produced. This is what a home pregnancy test (or a blood test) measures to confirm a pregnancy. Prior to approximately 6 weeks of pregnancy, hCG is the only way to detect a pregnancy. At this stage of pregnancy, ultrasound cannot detect an embryo. Chemical pregnancies tend to occur right after implantation. You will know the pregnancy is not sustainable by either getting your period, getting a negative pregnancy test or by seeing a doctor who can confirm that your hCG numbers are declining rather than increasing as they should be in a healthy pregnancy.
Two Chemical Pregnancies in a Row: Are these considered miscarriages?
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy in the first 20 weeks. A chemical pregnancy is a miscarriage that is considered very early in the pregnancy, before an embryo sack is detectable on ultrasound.
Two Chemical Pregnancies in a Row: What are my options?
If you’ve had two chemical pregnancies in a row, the same concerns that cause any kind of miscarriage also apply here. Miscarriages that happen within the first trimester are typically caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo. Other factors that can cause an increased risk for miscarriage are autoimmune issues, endocrine issues, and uterine anomalies.
A test like Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A, formerly known as PGS) can increase your chances of having a healthy baby and decrease your chances of a miscarriage by selecting chromosomally normal embryos.
Another option to consider exploring is Endometrial Receptivity Analysis (ERA), which can determine your personalized implantation window. This way, your doctor will know the ideal time to transfer the embryo to give it the best chance of implanting in the uterus, thus giving you the best chances of achieving a pregnancy.
Ultimately, if you want to have a family and you’ve had two chemical pregnancies in a row, you may want to consult with a reproductive endocrinologist to discuss your family history, overall health, fertility goals and any testing he or she recommends. There may be a diagnosis that can be treated and help bring you one step closer to the family you dream of. Just remember you have resources, support and options to help you along the path to parenthood!