Do Pregnancy Tests Expire? Using Expired pregnancy test

Expired pregnancy testMany of us have been in a similar situation, right? Waiting for a monthly period that won’t show up when expected or hoping it doesn’t show up in the next nine months.

PREGNANCY is the start of fascinating motherhood. This journey often starts with a positive result on your pregnancy test kit. Otherwise, it’s always a false start.

A pregnancy test is an amazing thing. – it could bring a hurricane or a ray of rainbows and butterflies depending on what you are anticipating. It could give you so much reassurance or life-altering news.

There are a variety of options to choose from when you make the maiden visit to the local drugstore. You’d be spoilt for choice on which test kit to buy. The baseline comes to looking at the expiry date.

The accuracy of an expired pregnancy test

Whereas some women attest to getting accurate results when using expired pregnancy tests, some get conflicting results with both tests performed on the same day.

There is no evidence that connotes the accuracy of an expired pregnancy kit; results shared by women globally are inconsistent. This means the results obtained from expired pregnancy kits are inaccurate.

How does a pregnancy test expire?

A pregnancy test has detector particles called the hCG antibodies on the hCG strip. The hCG hormone is produced when a woman is pregnant.

Thus, these hCG antibodies detect pregnancy. When the kit is functional, these antibodies are alive but once the kit reaches the end of its shelf life, the ability of antibodies to detect hCG in urine ceases. Thus, the essence of a pregnancy test is defunct.

When does a pregnancy test expire?

Pregnancy test kits have a shelf life of between 2-3 years after the manufacture date. The shelf life of a pregnancy test depends on the quality of a pregnancy test.

Most expiry dates indicate – month and year. With pregnancy kits, the rule of the thumb is that:

  • Cheaper kits have a short shelf life of two years after the date of manufacture. They expire earlier than the counterparts do. This is because the hCG strip doesn’t live for more than two years. Some of the cheapest pregnancy tests may expire within a few months or a year.
  • The expensive pregnancy test expires three years later. They have higher standards compared to the former.

Therefore, if you wonder if it’s still safe to use the kit one to eight months after the expiry date. The answer is a resounding ‘NO’.

Why does a pregnancy kit expire?

At the moment, there’s is no other, reliable way to test pregnancy at home apart from using hCG strips. These strips are used because women only produce hCG hormone when they are pregnant.

A woman who isn’t pregnant cannot excrete urine with hCG. Organic antibodies or the detector particles cannot be eternal. Hence, it’s not possible to find a pregnancy test that doesn’t expire.

First, The test expires since the hCG detectors are organic particles and they have a life. Secondly, the dye used in the test has a life. These emergency pregnancy test dyes get spots. Just like watercolors dry up after some time.

Thirdly, even when the antibodies don’t die, at the end of a shelf life, pregnancy test kits are fragile. When dipped into urine, it will tear even when it’s midstream.

This tearing may not be visible with the naked eye, but it counters the capillarity action. Therefore, the urine will not rise into a pregnancy test. Therefore, don’t use the expired pregnancy kit.

Contrary to beliefs, symptoms like nausea, cramps, missing periods and bleeding cannot be used as accurate means to detect pregnancy. Not all women experience these early pregnancy symptoms.

Selecting the right pregnancy test

Don’t stock pregnancy kits in bulk in an attempt to save money. You’d rather find other things to save money on.

Unless you have treatments that require testing pregnancy every day, always buy a pregnancy test hours or days from when you intend to use them.

Always check the kit’s expiry date and always buy one that is at least six months shy of the indicated expiry date.

If you have an expired pregnancy test, throw it away.

Seriously yes! There is no point in collecting trash. Even after you have tested positive, always schedule an appointment with a gynecologist to confirm your pregnancy test.

What outcomes do you expect when you use an expired pregnancy test?

If you have read this post and still want to use an expired test kit, consider these as the possible outcomes.

The test kits will show the completely different result if you perform more than one test.

  • The result could be negative while you are not pregnant. If the result is negative then two options exist:
    a) Maybe you did the test a little too early. The hCG level is too little to be tested by the kit even if you used a proper test kit
    b) The reagent on the test kit has expired and cannot detect the hCG in your urine
  • A positive result while you aren’t pregnant. This means you’re that your pregnancy test could have been exposed to heat, humidity or other adverse environmental conditions. This is a possible result if you store the test kits in the bathroom
  • The results are positive and you are pregnant. Mazel tov!

With these varied and unreliable results, why would you risk your sanity while you can purchase a new, properly functioning, pregnancy test?

Image: Bigstock

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  1. Folake bello August 19, 2018
    • Daniella Hall August 20, 2018