The Art of Peeing on a Stick

No one knows how to pee on a stick and read the results like a woman who is trying to conceive, in whatever fashion. The acronyms, the lingo, the brand loyalties, the tricks, the insider knowledge–it’s its own subculture.

Here’s what’s important to know: Home pregnancy tests measure hCG in a woman’s urine. HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin (yes, one of our randy little gonad hormones) is the hormone released by the embryo when it implants into the uterus. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, hCG levels rise rapidly, doubling every 36-48 hours or so. The most sensitive pregnancy test (the ones that proudly claim “Know you’re pregnant 6 days before your missed period!” in bright yellow letters on the box) can detect hCG levels of just 25 mlU, and may produce the faintest of pink lines (known as a squinter) as soon as 4 days post transfer or 8 days post conception. The more hCG you are producing, the darker that second little pink will be.

Seeing that line get darker is one of the great joys of POAS (peeing on a stick). This is why we surrogates are keeping First Response and Clear Blue in business. Is it necessary to POAS twice a day for two weeks straight? Perhaps not, but it definitely gives you a feeling of control over something that is entirely out of your control. It gives you something to do when you can, in fact, do nothing.

I was perplexed when I first began lurking on the surrogate Facebook page and saw how obsessed these women are with POAS. Post-transfer, women would post a picture of a stick every day, twice a day, asking for second opinions about squinters and celebrating darkening lines. But, man, the first few days after my transfer, I began to totally understand.

Here is the first half of the Facebook thread 3 days post-transfer, just to give you a taste of the POAS culture.


And, without further ado, here are my first 5 sticks, beginning with 3 days post-transfer.


You totally see the squinter on 4dpt, right?!

So… I’m knocked up! Now the only question that remains is how many?


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