How Soon After Ovulation Will a Pregnancy Test Show Positive?

If you are TTC you already know that this is a question you are asking yourself every month: When can I test?
To answer this question there are two pieces of important information that you will need: 

When Did You Ovulate?
The first piece of information that you will need to know is when ovulation occurred.  You should have a good idea if you are using a BBT or even if you used an Ovulation Test. (If using BBT you probably Ovulated right before the temperature spike.  If you used an OPK you probably Ovulated about 24 hours after a positive test.)
After Ovulation, if the sperm were available and conception took place, then it takes about 4 - 12 days for the fertilized egg to make the journey down the fallopian tube and find a prime place to burrow into the rich lining of the uterus.  What will soon become the placenta starts to produce HCG and is sent out into the body to let it know that there is no need to mensturate.  Once the HCG is sent out into the bloodstream it takes a small amount of time for the kidneys to begin filtering it and that is when the urine starts containing HCG.  HCG levels generally double every 24 to 36 hours.  Within 2 to 3 days after HCG has first been released, many women will be able to pick up a positive result if using one of the most sensitive tests.

How Sensitive Is The Pregnancy Test?
This is where the importance of the sensitivity of the HPT comes into play.  The more sensitive the HPT, the quicker it will pick up a positive result.  HPT's generally range in sensitivity levels from 20 mIU to 100 mIU.  20 mIU is the most sensitive test that you can get as a Home Pregnancy Test.  Sometimes even if the test says that it picks up a result at 20 mIU, it may actually give you a very faint line at 5 or 10 mIU.  This is why some women will tear the test apart and hold it up to the light to see if there is any line at all.  You know that we have all done it!  When you are choosing a test, always look at the box and be certain that it is 20 mIU, if you can find one.  I recommend purchasing quality HPTs off of the Internet and you can be certain that you are getting a good quality, very sensitive test for a small amount of money.

Once you have those two pieces of information you should be able to predict when you might be able to start getting a positive test result.  Now, we know that it takes about 4 to 12 days for the egg to find its way down the tube and burrow into the uterus and we also know that within 2 to 3 days after HCG has been released many women will be able to pick up a positive result.  Let us say that you ovulated on the 14th of the month.  The soonest that the egg could possibly have burrowed in would be four days after ovulation which would be the 18th of the month.  Then it takes 2 to 3 days for the HCG to start being released in your urine and that takes us up to the 21st of the month.  That is 7 days after you ovulated.  This is the very soonest that you might be able to get a positive result.  On the other hand, many women will not get a positive result until after her missed period. Let's take a look why. Let's say that you ovulated on the 14th of the month, again.  But this time it took your fertilized egg the longest amount of time to burrow into the uterus, which is about 12 days.  This takes us up to the 26th of the month.  Then it takes about 3 days for the HCG to start being released in your urine.  In this case it would take you up to the 29th of the month.  That is 15 dpo.  That is a day after your missed menstrual period.  Now look closely at these two scenarios.  This is why two successful cycles can be very different in the amount of time that it takes to get a positive test result.  There are also other reason that the time it takes to get a positive result may vary. A big reason is that many women, even when using proven methods, may miscalculate the date that ovulation happened on. 

So basically, before 7 days after Ovulation it is pretty certain that you are not going to get an accurate result because all of these certain events have to happen before HCG can be picked up on an HPT. I know how hard it is to try to refrain from testing...I love to test, it gives me such great pleasure.  But, I know that the absolute earliest that I am going to get a positive result is about 7 days after ovulation and that is only if everything went perfectly and the fertilized egg went very quickly and burrowed right in.  Alot of the time the fertilized egg will just float around a while in the uterus before it burrows in.  So, I usually try to aleast wait until 10 DPO before testing.  I figure that it gives me a much better chance at getting a BFP.  Whatever you decide, to test or wait, good luck to you!  I know that it is hard to wait.  But at least now you have information about how the process works so that you understand why it may take longer for some women to get a positive test.

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