Why Am I Getting Invalid Pregnancy Test Results?


Taking a home pregnancy test is usually the first thing that comes to mind if your period is late. Because it’s effortless, affordable, and usually accurate, many women use the help of this little buddy to confirm their pregnancy.

However, getting an invalid pregnancy test result can be irritating, especially when you’re sure you’ve done everything right. So, what are the reasons behind this issue, and how can you keep it from happening again?

In this article, I’ll provide you with answers to all these questions. Plus, I’ll share with you my recommendations for the best pregnancy tests on the market.

How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?

Before I discuss the mistakes that could lead to an invalid pregnancy test result, let’s find out how it works first.

A pregnancy test checks your urine for a hormone that your body exclusively produces when you’re pregnant. This hormone is called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

HCG is released into your body once a fertilized egg gets attached to the lining of your uterus, which is the very beginning of pregnancy.

So, once the pregnancy test detects this hormone in your urine, two pink lines will show on the stick. Therefore, you can assume that you’re pregnant and pay your OB/GYN a visit.

On the other hand, if you only get one pink line on the C (Control) region, then the result is negative.

In some cases, you may get no pink lines on the test control window, that’s when you know that the pregnancy test is invalid. Another way to determine an error with your test result is if only one line appears near the T (Test) region.

If you ever face this issue, then it’s time that you figure out why it’s happening and how to fix it.

What Causes an Invalid Pregnancy Test Result?

There are many reasons why a pregnancy test result can face errors.

For instance, it may be because you haven’t followed the directions of use accurately. Usually, you may have taken the test too soon, not waited enough time to read the results, or waited too long to check the results.

Sometimes, it can be an interpretation error on your part. For example, you may have refused to believe a positive test result, or neglected to confirm a negative result.

Also, the pregnancy test itself might be expired. So, to eliminate this issue, always check the expiration date before you buy the test.

Now, let’s discuss the most common pregnancy test errors in-depth.

Common Pregnancy Test Errors

The following mistakes can certainly lead to invalid pregnancy test results. Here’s how they can have an impact.

Taking the Test Too Soon

The right time to take a pregnancy test would be on the exact day that you missed your period. Of course, as long as you follow that rule, your test should be free of errors.

However, some tests claim to be able to indicate your pregnancy even before the day you’ve missed your period. For the record, these tests can also be pretty accurate, but not for everybody.

This is because the levels of hCG in the urine can vary from one person to another. So, you can’t always rely on the accuracy of a pregnancy test result if you’ve taken it sooner than the day when you’re expecting your monthly cycle.

Not Waiting the Right Amount of Time to Read the Result

All home pregnancy tests will provide you with a certain amount of time that you should wait before reading the results. During this time, the urine travels through the test stick, and you might even notice it showing a positive result.

Therefore, looking at the test before the recommended time, which is mostly 3-5 minutes is not advisable. Instead, you can set a stopwatch to the correct amount of time, then check the results after it goes off to reduce errors.

Waiting for a Long Time Before Reading the Result

Taking too long to read the result can also give you an inaccurate pregnancy test reading. Usually, the instructions will give you a specific timeframe that you shouldn’t read the results after.

If you do, you might notice two faint pink lines on the test window, indicating your pregnancy while there’s not really any hCG in your urine.

Also, rechecking the test results after hours of first reading the results isn’t right. This is because any change in the results will be inaccurate. So, the best thing you can do is dispose of the test stick when the recommended timeframe has passed.

How to Avoid Pregnancy Test Error

Fortunately, you can follow several guidelines to keep pregnancy test errors to the minimum. Here’s what you should do.

Choose the Perfect Timing to Take the Test

As we previously mentioned, the time at which you take a pregnancy test can have an impact on the results. So, to stay on the safe side, you’d better wait until you’ve missed your period to take the test.

Read the Instructions Carefully

Following the instructions that come with the pregnancy test should keep your experience free of mistakes. By taking a quick look at the attached leaflet, you’ll have a full understanding of what to do and how much time to wait before checking the results.

In the following section, I’ll give you a quick idea about these instructions.

Don’t Check the Test Result Twice

Some women make the mistake of rechecking the test result hours after first taking note of the reading. What they may not know is that the result might change, but the second time, it’s certainly not accurate.

So, if you want to make sure that the result is correct, you can retake the test the day after.

Trust the Results

A positive test result is rarely inaccurate. And if that ever happens, it’s usually because of human error. Therefore, if you ever receive a positive result, you should believe that you’re pregnant and act accordingly.

Even if you find two faint pink lines on the test window, these also mean that the test is positive.

The next step after getting a positive test result is to visit a healthcare provider to run another, more accurate test.

Retake a Negative Pregnancy Test

Sometimes, it may be too early for the test kit to detect the hCG levels in your urine. As a result, you’ll get a negative pregnancy test while, in fact, you may be pregnant.

Therefore, the best way to keep this from happening is by retaking a negative pregnancy test.

Also, if your period doesn’t show up within the next week after you’ve taken your test, that’s another indication that you might be pregnant.

Pregnancy Test Instructions

Sticking to pregnancy test instructions should save you the trouble of an invalid pregnancy test result. While you’ll find these directions available with every test kit you get, I’ve taken the liberty to include them for your benefit.

This way, you’ll know what to expect beforehand.

Taking the Test

Here’s the right way to take a pregnancy test.

  • Before purchasing the pregnancy test kit, check its expiry date
  • Remove the plastic cap to reveal the absorbent part of the stick
  • Dip the absorbent tip into a small, clean container that includes your urine
  • Leave it for 7-10 seconds to ensure that a sufficient sample has been collected
  • Re-cap the device
  • Place the test stick on a flat, horizontal surface
  • Wait for the exact time mentioned on the leaflet, usually 5 minutes, before checking the result

Understanding the Results

Now, after the recommended timeframe has passed, it’s time to look at the test window for results.

Positive Result

A pregnancy test is positive if two color bands appear on the test window in the (T) Test and © Control regions. These lines can vary in color intensity based on the hCG development and concentration in your body.

However, the Test line tends to be slightly weaker in intensity than the Control line.

If you get these double lines, then you’re possibly pregnant, and you should proceed to see a doctor.

Negative Result

If you only get one color band in the Control region, then you’re not pregnant. Note that there should be no trace of color in the Test region.

Having a clear Control band against a stark white background is designed to indicate that the test is valid.

Invalid Results

If you encounter an empty test window, then you should discard the device. Retry the test with a new device after following all the instructions closely.

Storing Pregnancy Tests

The right way to store a pregnancy test kit is to keep it in a place far from direct sunlight, moisture, or heat. Store it at room temperature, from 36°F to 86°F.

Dispose of any unused pregnancy test kits after their expiration dates.

Discarding Pregnancy Tests

You need to get rid of any used test devices or urine samples immediately after use. Because these objects can be infectious, make sure that you’ve discarded them properly and away from direct contact with other items.

Next, wash your hands thoroughly and clean any surfaces that you may have touched.

Recommended Pregnancy Tests

After some digging, I’ve managed to come up with a list of products that you may want to use. Here are my top three pregnancy test devices of 2020.

1.   Clearblue Rapid Detection Pregnancy Test

This pregnancy test by Clearblue claims that it can do its job up to 5 days before your period. The kit includes three test devices, which makes it a great investment for its price.

According to women who gave it a try, this pregnancy test was one of the easiest to use on the market. Not to mention that it comes with an ergonomic design so that you can handle it firmly.

Remarkably, the tip of this device is 50% wider than other products out there. This grants the user enough efficiency when taking urine samples.

Yet, its most noteworthy feature was the clear, vivid lines that this device is quick to show. This makes it one of the fastest and most accurate pregnancy tests you can buy.

2.   ClinicalGuard® HCG Pregnancy Test Strips

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, then you should consider these pregnancy test strips by ClinicalGuard.

Each strip is individually-sealed, ensuring its quality and keeping it in perfect condition. Also, because of the simple design of the test strips, most women have found them effortless to use to check their pregnancy.

While these strips may not be as fast as the previous ones on this list, plenty of users admired their mostly accurate results. They have a sensitivity level of 25 mIU, which is admirable compared to their price.

3.   PREGMATE Ovulation and Pregnancy Test Strip Kits

Now, if you’re trying to have a baby with your partner, then you may be looking for more than a mere pregnancy test strip. If this is the case, I highly recommend that you get this ovulation and pregnancy test kit to accompany you on your journey.

The strips included will help you mark the days when you’re most fertile, helping you choose the perfect time for sexual intercourse. This way, you’ll be able to track your ovulation based on data provided by your own body.

Once you miss your period, you can check if you’re pregnant using the test strips. If all that doesn’t scream accuracy, I don’t know what will!

For a couple who’s ready for a new family member, this kit can be your best friend.

The Bottom Line

As women, we have plenty going on inside our bodies, but that’s just part of the charm!

Whether you’re ready, unprepared, or don’t want to conceive, you’ll probably need to use a pregnancy test at some point in your life.

Because finding out if you’re pregnant is life-changing, you shouldn’t have to face an invalid pregnancy test. So, make sure that you follow the few guidelines that we’ve mentioned throughout the article to reduce errors.


I’m Princila, founder of Check Ovulation and a proud mom of two. I’m an alumna of James Lind Institute. After working in clinical jobs, my passion for writing took its toll, and I ended up switching careers to work in the medical publishing industry. I also have a passion for healthy food, which prompted me to take several online courses in nutrition and health offered by Wageningen University. (I still haven’t completed the courses thanks to my busy mommy schedule!). When I’m not writing/editing scientific and medical manuscripts or taking care of my family, I use my free time to research, learn, and write about healthy living. I have also authored a few books in the self-help niche using the pen names Princila Murrell or PN Murray.

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