Home pregnancy tests detect the presence of a hormone called HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) which rises significantly in early pregnancy. This hormone is produced soon after the fertilised egg is implanted in to the uterus (womb). Some home pregnancy tests can now be used as early as the day your period is due and if the instructions are followed carefully, are between 97-99% accurate.
If a test is being performed, it is advisable to use the first urine sample of the day and not to drink too much fluid the night before. This is to prevent the sample being too diluted and thus contains enough HCG to measure.
If you are currently taking fertility medication, some of them can interfere with the results. Seek advice from your GP or Fertility Specialist, if this is the case.
If you get a false negative result (the test says negative but you are really pregnant) this may be because you have tested too early in your pregnancy. If this is the case, repeat the test in 3 days time. If you have missed the reaction time or not dipped the test strip properly, this can also falsify the result.
See: ‘I feel pregnant – how early can I test?’ and ‘How will I know when I’m pregnant?’
Also: Lori, A. et al Diagnostic Efficiency of Home Pregnancy Test Kits (1998) Archives of Family Medicine vol.7, no.5 Sept p465-69.