If you have elevated hCG levels and no visible baby, this page is for you.
Hi. My name is Kay. I am mom to a very beautiful girl who was diagnosed as a blighted ovum. Thankfully, despite an empty-looking gestational sac and high hCG levels, I turned down the D&C twice. We found our baby at nearly nine weeks. Are you going through something similar?
Many women are told that if their hCG levels are over 10,000 and nothing is visible in the gestational sac, they are going to miscarry. In fact, many physicians push for an immediate D&C!
While this page will not change the direction of your pregnancy, it may, perhaps, prevent you from ending your pregnancy too soon.
I am not a medical professional. The information I share is meant to supplement the information given you by your doctor. If you feel your doctor is not doing enough for you or not willing to listen to your concerns, I strongly encourage you to take what you've learned here and get a second opinion.
WARNING: Keep in mind, this page will prove the following information wrong
A general search of Google and many ultrasound manuals say generally the same thing: If hCG levels go above 7,000 to 10,000 and nothing is visualized with the transvaginal ultrasound in the gestational sac, this is a blighted ovum (AKA anembryonic pregnancy).
One example quickly found on the web:
"At 7,200 mIU/ML, all sacs contained yolk sacs. At 10,800 mIU/ML, within all of the gestational sacs, embryos and heart activity could be imaged."
taken from Pregnancy at Risk: Current Concepts
With these levels and levels much higher there is still hope! You deserve to have no doubt before having your pregnancy ended.
...And why the textbooks are wrong!
At the Misdiagnosed Miscarriage, we have collected a number of stories to show that not every pregnancy can neatly fit into a textbook.
As you will see on this page, we have many stories from women with levels much higher than their doctors expected before seeing their babies.
My hope with this page is that you do not rush into ending your pregnancy if there are no complications. Take this information. Discuss it with your physician. Ask for ultrasounds one week apart to verify your blighted ovum. You may very well have a blighted ovum but, if so, you deserve to have no doubts ever about that diagnosis.
Want to View the Stories of Many Women who Were Misdiagnosed?
My sincere apologies. I had many links categorized here to stories by women who had empty sacs with hCG levels between 10,000 to 20,000. Another group of stories by women who numbers were up to 50,000 with still no baby seen and, amazingly enough, stories by women whose numbers were over 100,000 before seeing their little ones. I've moved them over to my blog because it was just too many links for our new host!
Also, please remember, none of these stories will change the ultimate outcome of your pregnancy. These stories, however, will help you to know if you are possibly being diagnosed too soon.
Stop Worrying about Your hCG Levels!
Once the gestational sac is viewed, many doctors stop taking hCG levels and for good reason. Your numbers can rise, plateau or drop and be normal. Some women have numbers that reach well over 50,000 and some even above 100,000 before seeing their babies. Some women plateau around 40,000 and then find their baby.
What should you be monitoring instead? Your doctor should be spacing out your ultrasounds by about one week and measuring the growth of your gestational sac if there are no complications. The UK's new guidelines encourage waiting until the sac reaches at least 25mm before suggesting a blighted ovum. My own gestational sac was 28.5mm before my baby was found.
My best advice if the gestational sac is where it should be, stop fretting over hCG levels and focus on the gestational sac.
What to do?
If you not absolutely certain that you are indeed going to miscarry and if there are no complications, you can ask to wait out a diagnosis.
If you wait out a diagnosis:
- make sure you stay monitored by your physician
- be seen if you show signs of infection
- be aware that if you are anemic and are going to miscarry, you may need surgical intervention (D&C)
- get a second opinion if you are not comfortable with your doctor's diagnosis
Blighted Ovum Poll
IMPORTANT: Ultrasounds May Lead to Misdiagnosed Miscarriages!
IMPORTANT: Ultrasounds May Lead to Misdiagnosed Miscarriages!
Misdiagnosed Miscarriages are finally making the news and, more importantly, research is beginning to come out about them!
A snippet from that article:
"As if the worry over potential miscarriage weren't stressful enough for newly pregnant women, research released Friday shows that current guidelines for using ultrasound to determine that a pregnancy has ended may not always be accurate.
The four new studies looked at U.K. ultrasound specifications, but when the findings are extrapolated to U.S. guidelines, the researchers suggest 1 in 23 women diagnosed with miscarriage could still have a viable pregnancy."
I really believe that that figure might be much higher. For women diagnosed with a blighted ovum, something like one in five may be much more accurate.
I'd love to hear from you. If I do not respond to your message here, please feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!
Kayla Rodriguez on November 25, 2019:
My most recent news. Hcg 55k ultrasound only GS i am terrified as we suffered a loss in early Aug. This page gave me so much hope and as long as i am not cramping or bleeding experiencing any complications i will not give up on my baby!!! Thank you for this page
Jan on September 24, 2018:
I went for an ultrasound at 6weeks 5days. Yolk sac but no fetal pole. Had HCG tested it was 85000! 1.5 days later it was 89,000 nurse called to say pregnancy is not viable. What a hard weekend! I am vomiting and very sick and have no signs of miscarriage. I have had 4 in the past. Another ultrasound today to make sure as I demanded to see again.
Kay (author) on December 03, 2017:
Oh Amber, I am so sorry you are going through this. Please, stay closely monitored. Praying for you.
Amber on December 02, 2017:
HCG is going down to 24000 so I guess i'm preparing for the worst . Still no signs yet though ..
Amber on November 30, 2017:
I'm going through this . They said at what should be my 8 weeks to the day (i know when i ovulated at least ) scan that its a empty sac measuring apx 7 weeks. I got my first blood draw and its at 26507 hcg . More blood to do tomorrow my Dr likes to do things naturally so has not told me to do anything yet just 3 blood works and another Ultrasound on the 15th . (soonest i could book it) But i've had no bleeding , no cramps , Nothing. I don't feel sick or anything but I normally never do much . We will see what happens.
Georgia on November 22, 2017:
Monday the 20th I went in for my first doc appt. They decided to give me an ultrasound and to my surprise there was just the gestational sac and it was measuring 7 weeks 1 day. My doc thinks I'm not as far along as we are thinking. My hcg levels are 21000 and my progesterone is 7.1. He gave me a prescription for progesterone and wants to see me back on Monday 27th for another blood work and then Thursday 30th for another ultrasound. This is the first time I'm going through something like this.
Samantha on September 21, 2017:
My HCG levels are rising. Went for my ultrasound bc i have no idea how far along I am, and there is a sac but no baby. They are concerned bc my levels are not doubling like they want them too. I go next week for another u/s to see if there was any progress. How long should I wait if there is still nothing in the sac before deciding what to do?
Kay (author) on April 12, 2017:
Hi Lorraine, I have two questions for you: Does the gestational sac now measure more than 25mm? Is she more than nine weeks along? If the answer is no to these questions and there are no complications, she is being diagnosed too early. Please seek a second opinion.
Lorraine Ortiz on April 12, 2017:
My daughters HCG levels are at 40,000 but the gestational sac is empty and we are now scheduled for a D&C. I feel like we are going to fast but the doctor said n hwr case she is 100 sure there will be no baby. She says with levels that high heartbeat should be seen
April on February 24, 2017:
Went to first appointment at 6 weeks 1 day to find yolk sack but no heartbeat or pole. And levels at 33,000. Already doctor considered d&c and this has to be crazy. I'm only 6 weeks! And he isn't even a ultrasound tech! I feel great no cramping or bleeding I feel pregnant and he keeps stressing me and my husband to no end. Saying well miricles happen but dont get your hopes up. I can't believe this 3rd baby and nothing close to this stress. Get second blood test today and sonagram in a few more days.
MamaMeg13 on October 08, 2016:
I went for my eight week us yesterday and there was no sign of a baby. Everything else was there just no sign of a heartbeat. When I went in at five weeks, there was evidence that something was there but it was so early. I am eight weeks according to my lmp but I really am only five weeks according to conception. My doctor called and said my hcg level went from 500 to 31,000 and that I will most likely not have any bleeding anytime soon. I am due to go back to see her in one week. I am so confused at this point. Is there still a chance? I have had 2 previous miscarriages and a blocked tube. I have one healthy pregnancy though a year ago.
Kay (author) on June 17, 2016:
Wonderful news!!!! I am so sorry that doctor scared you so early. That is just awful!
Regi on May 05, 2016:
Update: i am happy to announce that the ultrasound today show a baby and hearbeat - 6 weeks! The er doctor got it wrong! Be patient, i was freaking out for no reason!
Regi on April 29, 2016:
I had a similar situation, i thought i was 4 /5 weeks pregnant - have a history of ectopic pregnancies and i have 1 tube, went to the er because i was afraid of another ectopic they found a sac in the uterus and hcg levels at 27,000 but no baby. Doctor said its a miscarriage- i go for a check up next week on thusday, still have pregnancy symptoms.
Kay (author) on April 03, 2016:
Do you have an update? Generally a week after the yolk sac is viewed, a baby will be seen if the pregnancy is viable.
Sarah on March 28, 2016:
Hi, I'm not sure how far along I am (dr says 4-5 wks but would be 7 according to LMP). 3 days ago my levels were 8,000. Today they're 18,000. There was only a sac and possibly yolk sac 3 days ago. Dr says my levels are too high to not see the baby. I'm going in tomorrow for another u/s. She thinks it's an ectopic pregnancy. But there is a sac in the uterus???
Kay (author) on December 29, 2014:
I love the new guidelines in the UK. Rather than focus on weeks, they monitor the gestational sac. If it is growing, they wait until the sac is 25mm and then wait one week to verify it is empty. Doing this would prevent the vast majority of blighted ova diagnosis. Please, keep us updated.
Alb on December 29, 2014:
I went to the dr. Last week Thinking I was 7 weeks. Saw the g-sac but no fetal pole. Said I was measuring 6.5 weeks. Took blood, HCG levels were at 42000. I go in tomorrow for another Ultrasound. Praying to see something. I don't have any "pregnancy" symptoms, but I did not have any with my first until about 12 weeks, then it was just heart burn.
Alison on December 06, 2014:
I believe so. I'll find out Wednesday for sure, but I still have all the pregnancy symptoms and everything. I just want some hope..
Kay (author) on December 06, 2014:
Is the sac still growing? I love the UK's new guidelines. They have doctors wait until the sac is at least 25mm (if it is growing) and then one week after to verify. (((hugs)))
Alison on December 05, 2014:
At 7 weeks and a couple days, I went to the er for pain, they did an ultrasound and we saw the baby, but the next day, we went to my obgyn and there was just a gestational sac. They took blood and scheduled another ultrasound next week. I got a call and they said my levels were rising too fast and too early. I don't know what that means, but I'm so devastated. If they don't find anything next week, they want to do a d&c. I'm not sure if I want to though. I'm so scared and worried. There's still hope that this can change, right ?? :(
Kay (author) on December 04, 2014:
Eight weeks is still too early to diagnose. If there are no complications, you might want to ask for another ultrasound a week out. (((Hugs)))
TIFF on December 03, 2014:
I'm supposed to be a little over nine weeks now but on my 8 week sonogram there was nothing... Just the yolk sack and other sack. I am 20 years old and me and my husband were devastated... But today my beta levels are 50,000. But still no baby and the sack had dilated a little. My doc wants a d&c but I'm scared... Has this happened to anyone else??? Is there no hope?
Kay (author) on November 08, 2014:
I think you need a second opinion because if no gestational sac is seen, that can mean ectopic. Those levels are awfully high for an ectopic though. You should see another doctor as soon as you can.
Samantha fuller on November 05, 2014:
I had a full period in Aug and a 3 day period in Sept. I got a positive pregnancy test end of Sept. I went to my gyn October 3rd. I spotting pinkish brownish only in my panties liners...not very much at all. They did a u/s and didnt see anything and my levels were at 2000. Well my dr said it looks like a early misscarrage. So she gave me a pill to finish the mc. Well I took a pregnancy test a week later and it was still positived. I called telling them what happen, they took my blood and my levels were at 10000. My bleeding picked up but no cramps and no heavy bleeding at all. Nothing in the u/s still. They were thinking cancer or a tumor... well i did a cat scan and notbing showed up.Well they took blood 2 weeks ago and it was at 18000. And then I started my period when I suppose to. Heavy and cramping. Well I took a pregnancy test and it still positive. So idk what's going on. I heard some woman it can take a long time to get the hgc levels down....or am I pregnant still or got pregnant again some how. No body don't understand what's going on. All the do is draw blood and repeat....I'm tired of it. I just want answers or someone who went though this too
Kay (author) on September 20, 2014:
I have never heard of hCG levels in the million range.
jatona on September 20, 2014:
My HCG say 2000000 SK how far would that make me today
Kay (author) on September 17, 2014:
First of all, (((Hugs))) and I am so sorry you are going through this. Unless there is an immediate medical need, you can ask to wait this out. The new standards are waiting until the gestational sac reaches 25mm and then waiting one week to verify. Please, keep me updated. Praying for you.
Olivia on September 17, 2014:
I support to be 6 weeks pregnant but the thing is I'm not regular in my periods so i went to the doctor as soon as i find out i was pregnant and they did an ultrasound and no baby the doctor sd it may be too soon so they did the hcg blood test and then another 2 days after. The hcg when up but no baby still then i stared seeing brown every time i will wipe in the rest room and 4 days after i bleed like a period but no big chunks of blood i went right away yo the er and they sd the hcg was 39950 and according to the size soc i was 6 weeks 5 days but no baby or heart yet . The er doc. Said the same thing it may be too soon to see a baby and also that i was in risk of losing my baby if there was a baby, that was in a Saturday then i went to my doctor on Monday and she did another ultrasound and no baby she sd we were going to give another week if by then there was no baby then there were going to do the D&C. But i really will like to wait cause my periods are not regular i get them every 30 to 32 days and my last period was on August the 4th and i find out i was pregnant on September the 3rd with a home pregnancy test. I'm so sad that my baby nay not be there..
Tonnye on May 01, 2014:
@Cari Kay 11: No. The dr said there was no point. Should I find another doctor? I did read your story, but the progesterone issue is what got me. I wish I knew more! I've been reading. I've had 4 children and haven't come across this before.
Kay (author) on May 01, 2014:
@Tonnye: I encourage you to read my blog post: http://misdiagnosedmiscarriagemusings.blogspot.com... see that you are eight weeks from your other post. According to these guidelines, it is just too early to diagnose! Are you on progesterone supplements now?
Tonnye on May 01, 2014:
Oh, I was 8 weeks yesterday. Thanks.
Tonnye on May 01, 2014:
Hi. I just found out yesterday that the dr suspects blighted ovum. Only the gestational sac & "Debris" we're found via ultrasound, both normal. & transvaginal. The kicker today is that's hcg is. 16800 & progesterone level is. 7.5. Do you have any info that points to the possibility of a viable pregnancy with progesterone this low ? Thanks.
Kay (author) on March 24, 2014:
@OUTFOXprevention1: I hope everything is just fine.
OUTFOXprevention1 on March 24, 2014:
Thanks for the info. Definitely something we are dealing with now...
Kay (author) on January 29, 2014:
@Miss_may22: Hi Miss May. I don't know about the hCG levels. Once anything is seen in the sac, they do tend to go up more slowly. Also, once the yolk sac is visualized, an ultrasound one week out by an actual ultrasound tech should give you your answer. You'll see the baby if the pregnancy is viable. Some women do have to wait a week after seeing the baby to find the heartbeat though. (((hugs))) to you. I know how difficult the waiting is. Please, stay monitored and be seen right away if there are any complications.
Miss_may22 on January 28, 2014:
Hi, We had our first ultrasound yesterday after a FET cycle, it showed a yolk sac but with nothing in it. They are dating us at 6 weeks 6 days and my last hcg level went from 12800 to 16800 in 4 days. I know the levels aren't great and the ultrasound tech was not optimistic at all but is there still hope we might have a baby? We are waiting for the doctor to call us with what we do next. Thanks - missmay
Kay (author) on January 24, 2014:
@sarah-quesnelle-9: I am sorry you are going through this scare. Fortunately, once the yolk is seen, the baby is usually visualized one week later in a viable pregnancy. So, my answer is yes, there is still hope. Please, let me know how it goes. Praying for you.
sarah-quesnelle-9 on January 24, 2014:
I had an ultrasound. Technician saw a yolk sac but not heartbeat. He told me the dr would request a d&c. Bloodwork was 58,000. 2 days later bloodwork was 72,000. I go for a 2nd ultrasound on Monday (2days) and I'm praying we see something! Is it possible that I am still a viable pregnancy? Fingers crossed!! - Sara
Kay (author) on December 05, 2013:
@michellepolitano: Oh my goodness. I apologize that this took so long to post. I was out of town. A sac should definitely have been seen with levels like that. Do you have an update? (((Hugs)))
michellepolitano on November 26, 2013:
I just got out of the ER. I found out I was pregnant after bleeding for 13 days straight; stopped after day 13. Then based on my LMP the doctor put me at 5 weeks, 1 day at the time (HCG 1276). Initial internal ultra sound didn't show anything. No baby, no sac, some thickening of the uterus lining, but not very much. The doctor was concerned. I went back in for another blood draw 3 days later; HCG had risen to 2955. Was cautiously hopeful. Started to have VERY mild cramps/aches in my upper abdomen the next day. (5w,5d) Went in for my second appointment and ultrasound at 6w1d (yesterday); again the ultrasound didn't show anything. Not even a sac. Doctor looked at my ovaries and tubes, and couldn't see anything concerning there. Third blood draw had my HCG at 10,561. Doctor was really concerned, saying he should at least see the sac with my levels being so high. He wasn't ready to give up yet though. He sent me home with orders to take it easy and come back in in a week. The next day (today) I go in to work; took it easy, spent the whole day seated. Made it through the day and had just left my supervisor's office where I told her I was having complications when I went to the bathroom before leaving and I noticed the blood. Not a lot, but enough to scare me. I went to the ER. They did a very through exam and more blood work. Though my levels had again risen to above 11,000, they could not find anything again. I have very normal looking lady parts. They were in contact with my doctor who recommended a termination via methotrexate. He is 100% convinced that I am having a non-viable/ectopic pregnancy based on the ultrasound, my bleeding, and the increasing cramps...Could he be wrong? Everything I read on here says misdiagnosed with sac...Can you be misdiagnosed without a sac in the uterus?
anonymous on August 27, 2013:
Glad I found this site! It's giving me some hope, as I am going through a similar situation right now. I went into the doctor 10 days ago thinking I was about 8 weeks pregnant because I was having some spotting. The doctor did an ultrasound and found 2 sacs- one was empty, the other had what seemed to be a yolk- the doctor said what she was seeing was consistent with about 5.5-6 weeks along. I know the date of the last possible time we could have conceived was 7 weeks ago, which would make me about 9 weeks. (I know this date for sure, because I broke my foot a couple days later and it was weeks and weeks before making a baby would have been possible, if ya know what I mean). So based on that date, the doctor agreed that from the looks of the sacs it didn't appear promising. I had blood work done 10 days ago- the day of the ultrasound- and again yesterday (I was out of town for a week starting the day after the ultrasound so I didn't a second blood draw or the results until yesterday.) I was beginning to come to terms with the thought that I was going to miscarry. And then I came home to the results from the blood tests. My original hcg 10 days ago was 26,000 (dr. said that's consistent with the 6 weeks she had seen on the ultrasound) and had the test from yesterday the hcg was 87,000. I have another ultrasound scheduled in 2 days. I did pass one single clot of blood about 4 days and have had no spotting since- the doctor who called today said that could have been that second sac that was empty, and the sac that had the yolk could actually be just fine. I am hopeful, I just can't get the timing to add up.