This is a question that often arises; many women wonder if pregnancy tests have an expiration date and if using an expired test can affect the accuracy of the results. If you’ve got a box of tests knocking around in your medicine cupboard from your last pregnancy five years ago, it might seem like a good idea to use up what you have before investing in new tests. It makes sense but does a pregnancy test’s expiry date affect the results? In this blog, we will look into pregnancy test expiration and provide insights into the shelf life of these essential diagnostic tools.
Understanding Pregnancy Tests
Before discussing expiration dates, let’s cover what a pregnancy test is and how it works. In a nutshell:
Pregnancy tests are designed to detect the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman’s urine. This hormone is produced by the placenta shortly after a fertilised egg attaches to the uterine wall. Most pregnancy tests come in the form of urine test strips or midstream tests, both of which work by reacting to hCG levels. You can read our ultimate guide to pregnancy tests here.
Do Pregnancy Tests Expire?
Like most medical products, pregnancy tests do have an expiration date. Manufacturers assign expiration dates to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the tests. The expiration date is usually printed on the packaging or the test itself. It is crucial to check the expiration date before using a pregnancy test to ensure the most accurate results. (Note, if you are using a Hoopsy eco pregnancy test, you will find the expiry date on the wrapper of each individually wrapped test for your convenience).
Why do Pregnancy Tests Expire?
It’s a fair question. Like with many other products out there, you may question if the expiry date actually impacts the result or if it’s a fabulous marketing ploy to sell more products! Actually, there are a few very good reasons why pregnancy tests carry an expiry date:
- The chemicals used in the test, such as the antibodies that detect hCG, can degrade or become less effective.
- Heat, humidity, and light exposure can also impact the test’s accuracy and reliability.
This is why storing pregnancy tests properly and using them within their designated shelf life is important.
Impact of Using Expired Pregnancy Tests
Using an expired pregnancy test obviously won’t physically hurt you, but it can potentially lead to inaccurate results, which is the last thing you want when TTC!
As the test components degrade over time, IT may not be able to detect hCG effectively or may produce false positive or false negative results. False positives can occur when an expired test incorrectly detects hCG in the absence of pregnancy. While false negatives may fail to detect hCG when a pregnancy is present.
Both scenarios can cause confusion, anxiety, and potential delays in seeking appropriate prenatal care.
Proper Storage and Handling
To maximise the shelf life and accuracy of your pregnancy test, storing and handling it properly is crucial. Most pregnancy tests should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. For example, your bedside cabinet, bathroom cupboard or in a medical box under the stairs are good options.
Extreme temperatures and humidity can impact the test’s performance. Additionally, avoid opening the test until you are ready to use it, as exposure to air can also affect its accuracy.
When in Doubt, Get a New Test
If you are unsure whether your pregnancy test has expired or suspect that it might have, it is always best to err on the side of caution and get a new test. Purchasing a new test ensures the highest probability of accurate results.
So do pregnancy tests expire? Yes, they most certainly do!
Pregnancy tests have an expiration date, and using an expired test can compromise the accuracy of the results. The degradation of test components over time, exposure to conditions, and storage mishandling can all impact the reliability of the test. If you have had pregnancy tests in the cupboard for a while, be sure to check the expiration date. If in doubt, obtaining a new pregnancy test is advisable to ensure peace of mind. Are you looking to stock up on new pregnancy tests? Order a pack of Hoopsy eco-friendly pregnancy tests here today.