Pregnancy Test

  • Rowa Yousef Alhabbab
Part of the Techniques in Life Science and Biomedicine for the Non-Expert book series (TLSBNE)


Pregnant women undergo major hormonal changes during the course of pregnancy. The placenta secretes glycoprotein hormone, known as human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) shortly post-fertilization. hCG is mainly produced in a detectable amount in both urine and serum samples within 7–10 days following conception. Therefore, owing to its early release, hCG has been used as a biomarker for pregnancy. This chapter explains the principle, reagents, steps, and results interpretation of the most commonly used test for detecting pregnancy.


hCG ELISA Chromatographic Pregnancy test 


  1. 1.
    Ezcurra D, Humaidan P. A review of luteinising hormone and human chorionic gonadotropin when used in assisted reproductive technology. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2014;12:95.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Berndt S, Blacher S, Perrier d'Hauterive S, Thiry M, Tsampalas M, Cruz A, et al. Chorionic gonadotropin stimulation of angiogenesis and pericyte recruitment. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94(11):4567–74.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Toth P, Li X, Rao CV, Lincoln SR, Sanfilippo JS, Spinnato JA 2nd, et al. Expression of functional human chorionic gonadotropin/human luteinizing hormone receptor gene in human uterine arteries. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1994;79(1):307–15.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lei ZM, Reshef E, Rao V. The expression of human chorionic gonadotropin/luteinizing hormone receptors in human endometrial and myometrial blood vessels. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992;75(2):651–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zygmunt M, Herr F, Keller-Schoenwetter S, Kunzi-Rapp K, Munstedt K, Rao CV, et al. Characterization of human chorionic gonadotropin as a novel angiogenic factor. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002;87(11):5290–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Herr F, Baal N, Reisinger K, Lorenz A, McKinnon T, Preissner KT, et al. HCG in the regulation of placental angiogenesis. Results of an in vitro study. Placenta. 2007;28(Suppl A):S85–93.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zygmunt M, Herr F, Munstedt K, Lang U, Liang OD. Angiogenesis and vasculogenesis in pregnancy. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2003;110(Suppl 1):S10–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Toth P, Lukacs H, Gimes G, Sebestyen A, Pasztor N, Paulin F, et al. Clinical importance of vascular LH/hCG receptors—a review. Reprod Biol. 2001;1(2):5–11.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Akoum A, Metz CN, Morin M. Marked increase in macrophage migration inhibitory factor synthesis and secretion in human endometrial cells in response to human chorionic gonadotropin hormone. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90(5):2904–10.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kobayashi S, Nishihira J, Watanabe S, Todo S. Prevention of lethal acute hepatic failure by antimacrophage migration inhibitory factor antibody in mice treated with bacille Calmette-Guerin and lipopolysaccharide. Hepatology. 1999;29(6):1752–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wan H, Versnel MA, Cheung WY, Leenen PJ, Khan NA, Benner R, et al. Chorionic gonadotropin can enhance innate immunity by stimulating macrophage function. J Leukoc Biol. 2007;82(4):926–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Reshef E, Lei ZM, Rao CV, Pridham DD, Chegini N, Luborsky JL. The presence of gonadotropin receptors in nonpregnant human uterus, human placenta, fetal membranes, and decidua. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1990;70(2):421–30.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Zuo J, Lei ZM, Rao CV. Human myometrial chorionic gonadotropin/luteinizing hormone receptors in preterm and term deliveries. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1994;79(3):907–11.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Batzer FR. Hormonal evaluation of early pregnancy. Fertil Steril. 1980;34(1):1–13.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Catt KJ, Dufau ML, Vaitukaitis JL. Appearance of hCG in pregnancy plasma following the initiation of implantation of the blastocyst. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1975;40(3):537–40.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Braunstein GD, Rasor J, Danzer H, Adler D, Wade ME. Serum human chorionic gonadotropin levels throughout normal pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1976;126(6):678–81.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lenton EA, Neal LM, Sulaiman R. Plasma concentrations of human chorionic gonadotropin from the time of implantation until the second week of pregnancy. Fertil Steril. 1982;37(6):773–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    BioVision Inc. Chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) (human) ELISA kit. Biovision. Available from: Accessed 20 September 2017.
  19. 19.
    Innovacon. One Step Pregnancy Test Device (Urine). CLIA-waived. Available from: Accessed 20 September 2017.
  20. 20.
    CLIAwaived Inc. Pregnancy Urine Test (Cassette). CLIA-waived. Available from: Accessed 20 September 2017.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rowa Yousef Alhabbab
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Applied Medical Sciences and Infectious Disease UnitKing Fahad Centre for Medical Research, King Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations