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Testing for Pregnancy >> What's a Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test Mean?
On a pregnancy test, a faint test line - or color band - is usually indicative of a positive result, as long as the test kit has been interpreted within the given reaction time of specified in the instructions (at 5 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.
1) If you test too soon, hCG may not be at a sufficient level for test detection. With subsequent follow up tests, the line should grow bolder with the increase of hCG in the urine specimen. Note that, following implantation of the egg, hCG levels will double approximately every 2 to 3 days, which means that if you test too soon, you should be able to determine a more conclusive result in a few days, using first morning urine.
2) Low test sensitivity thresholds: 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. Our tests are sensitive to 20 mIU/hCG.
3) 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.
4) Some tests display an accumulation of dye at the test margins. A test line will appear in the "result window" of the test, and not on the margin where dye/reagents may accumulate. A test line may be fainter than the control line, but it will appear in the result window of the test, directly below the control line.
Please note that with our tests, you may begin testing for pregnancy at 7-10 days past ovulation. This is when, on average, the hCG level in a woman's urine reaches the 20 mIU/ml/hCG threshold. A negative result this early, however, does not foreclose the possibility of pregnancy so follow-up tests are advised (always with a first morning urine sample).
Also, please note that with a strip style of diagnostic kit, the test line will appear directly below the control line in the result window of the test. Any accumulation of color/dye at the margin of the test should not be confused for the test line, which have the the same dimensions, shape and color tone as the control line.
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