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Pregnancy Test Faint Lines and Evaporation Lines

The Two Big Pregnancy Test Questions:
1) How Early Can I Test for Pregnancy?
2) What Does a Faint Line Mean on a Pregnancy Test?

> Back to Pregnancy Testing

How Early Can I Test for Pregnancy?
One question women frequently ask when trying to conceive is: How long do I have to wait before I can take a pregnancy test? Though hCG is produced at different rates in different women, there are general timelines for deciding when to test. However, when testing on the early side, do not rely on one test for conclusive results - especially a negative result: the hCG threshold for displaying a positive result on a home pregnancy test may not yet have been reached.
Early Detection Pregnancy Tests
When a woman becomes pregnant, the amount of hCG in her system should be around 25 mIU at 10 dpo (days past ovulation), 50 mIU at 12 dpo, 100 mIU at around two weeks dpo (these are averages that may deviate among different women). Test sensitivity equates with early-detection - and the lower the number, the sooner a test can detect pregnancy. At 20 MIU test sensitivity, you can begin testing at 7-10 days post ovulation, though the earlier you begin testing, the higher chance you have of getting a false negative. carries early-detection pregnancy tests capable of detecting just 20 miu/ml hcg.
Here, implantation of the fertilized egg needs to take place before hCG is produced by the developing placenta, and that generally occurs at 6-10 dpo. If you decide to test early, make sure you perform a few follow-up tests every other day using first morning urine. Your hCG levels should rise exponentially, doubling every 2 days - which means that the follow up tests should eventually detect pregnancy if you are, in fact, pregnant.

For earliest detection of pregnancy, use first morning urine, as this urine sample contains the most concentrated amount of hCG. If using first morning urine is not feasible, avoiding urination for several hours before using a pregnancy test.
 Faint Line
A faint color band in the test area of a pregnancy test indicates, in most circumstances, a positive result for pregnancy.
However, a faint line appearing after the designated reaction time of the test may be an "evaporation line".
What Does a Faint Line Mean on a Pregnancy Test?
On a pregnancy test, a faint test line - or color band - is usually indicative of a positive result, as long as it's read within the time frame - or reaction time of the test (usually at 5-10 minutes). If you perform the pregnancy test properly and read results within the recommended time frame, then a faint or weak color band in the test area is very likely a positive pregnancy test.

Evaporation Lines
Evaporation lines, however, can confound results if tests are not interpreted within the clinically recommended time frame. An evaporation line develops when the urine on the test area begins to dry, leaving a faint, usually colorless line. Evaporation lines appear to show up (or not show up) as a result of the composition of the particular urine specimen - and they may appear on any test regardless of brand.

Explanations for Faint Positives
  • Testing Too Early: If you test too soon, hCG may not be at a sufficient level for test detection. See the section above on determining when to take a pregnancy test.

  • Low Test Sensitivity: Different tests detect hCG at different levels, from 20MIU to 100MIU or more. 20 MIU tests will display a faint line when when hCG levels are at 20 MIU, while less sensitive tests will display a negative result. At 50 MIU levels, a 20 MIU test will show a stronger color band while a 50 MIU test will show a very faint band.

  • Dilution of Urine Specimen: Urine specimens may be diluted due to frequent urination or consumption of liquids. First morning urine is recommended for pregnancy testing as it contains the most concentrated presence of hCG.

  • Chemical pregnancy: Sometimes an early pregnancy is detected - followed by negative test results. A chemical pregnancy means implantation takes place (hCG is produced for a short time) followed by a miscarriage (generally, before any other pregnancy symptoms are detected).

  • Evaporation Lines: Always read your test results within the test reaction time (usually 5 minutes) as evaporation lines can develop as the urine dries on the test area. Evaporation lines appear to show up (or not show up) as a result of the composition of the particular urine specimen - and they may appear on any test regardless of brand.
Remember, a pregnancy test does not function like "light switch" - and just turn on: different hCG levels will produce different gradients of color bands (from very light, faint lines early in pregnancy to dark, rich color lines later on as hCG develops).
Read More About Pregnancy Tests
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i have a question.. i lost the paper and box to the test and i took it and it reads - (I) the - is in the circle and the (I) in a box by it..

I have been on Clomid tablets 50mg, I last had my period in Dec up now i havent had a period yet but the result is showing a light faint band in the test area does this mean am pregnant or is their something with my pregnancy bse when on clomd i have never missed a period

I had to have a D & C (miscarried) on Nov 6th. I didn't get my first period after that procedure until Jan. 9th. Since then I have not had another period. I took a test and it cam out negative. Prior to my D and C I was on about a 23-24 day cycle. The pregnancy test I took yesterday, was not my first morning urine (although a few days ago it was) and both test were negative. I have been having a few symptoms as I did before when I was pregnant, nightmares, hunger, headaches, and fatigue. Wouldn't the pregnancy test detect by now if I was pregnant? Any suggestions?

i have been on clomid to help me get pregnant and the 1st time it ddnt work.i took the tablets again and had blood tests on the 21st they said they worked that time and its now 15 days since we had to try and i did a pregnancy had two dark lines.not faint and they showed up pretty quickly and then after 10mins were still there all dark n positive.should i trust this result does it mean im pregnant or is it too early to tell.i really wanna b happy about this but i cnt stop worrying about it being a false positive..i have another appt at hospital on 23rd/2 but i dont wanna wait that long..
any advice.=]

My last period was the 4th January and today is the 12th febuary and i still havent come on. I did a home test and it came up a very faint line, the day after i went to brook and did another one and it did the same. I went to the doctors today and it came up negative. I bought another test today which i am going to do tomorrow mornin. I have to take another sample to the doctors on monday morning and see him at night. what shall i do if they both come up negative? Does that mean im not pregnant?

Hello the last period I had was on 12/02/09 and ended on 12/09/09 since then I have not had a period so today makes 9 weeks I took a test after 1 month negative so I thought ok ill start my period next week hahaha so I took another one tonight and there was a faint line am I crazy or am I preggers?

hi ive missed a period,constant headaches for 2 weeks,dizzy,;feeln preggas',took a test yesterday and today and had 2 faint lines.scared to go to drs to find out truth,dnt no if i want another baby.confused mum?!!

I have missed my period this month, I have been having un protected sex and I took a test yesterday afternoon and it said negative. I was supposed to have my period the 23rd but no show. I feel ok. And I don't know what's going on, anyone have any ideas or what I should do? Please help!!

hi i did six tests 2 positive 4 neg only a few days late show some signs anyone have any suggestions please x

i to havesimilar problems my last period was dec 2 09 i was suppose 2 ovulate jan5 my next cycle was due jan 19 10 but still no sign i have all the signs but my test are all neg i took one 2 day neg im concerned i lost one to stillborn a yr ago and if i am i want to take close care let me know what happens ok good luck

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By TTC veteran and mother of two, Elizabeth Andrews.