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Yes they can. It's called a chemical pregnancy. They are more common than many women think. A lot of women don't even know they had a chemical pregnancy because they can happen so very early. I have had two chemical pregnancies and two miscarriages and I asked my midwife to explain the difference between a chemical pregnancy and a miscarriage. Although I believe the chemical pregnancy is still a miscarriage. She told me that a chemical pregnancy Is one where the egg is fertilized and travels down the Fallopian tubes towards the uterus, But during that process something either goes wrong with the forming cells or the lining of the uterus isn't healthy and lush and the blastocyst (embryo before it implants) fails to implant Or it implants but does not implant properly. Some women who do not receive the positive test may have the one that does not implant. Other women may receive a positive test and then will start their "period" Either right on time or a few days late Because there was implantation but it was not successful. Personally I have received two positive test with two separate pregnancies and AF showed up with in two or three days. All of this usually occurs between the third and fifth week of pregnancy. There is no heartbeat present in the embryo during a chemical pregnancy. It is called a miscarriage after a heartbeat is recognized on ultrasound.