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The introduction of home pregnancy test kits changed brought a whole new convenience level to couples and women of child-bearing age. Instead of having to wait a while for a doctor’s appointment just to find out if the missed period is indeed a sign of a little baby being conceived, we can now run to the pharmacy and purchase an easy to use pregnancy kit. It does happen at times that you may need to take a pregnancy test and you find out that the pregnancy test kit you have has expired. The question arises, is it still viable even if it is expired?
To answer the above question related to the expiry of pregnancy tests we need to quickly go through how a pregnancy test works. The home based pregnancy test works by detecting the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG), a hormone that is present in the blood stream and urine when a woman is with child. The older your pregnancy is, the higher the levels of this hormone will be in both the blood and the urine. The pregnancy tests that are available in the market right now are said to be 99% accurate in detecting pregnancy or its absence. So to use it, you just follow the easy instructions on the pregnancy kit that you purchase from a pharmacy with no need of a prescription.
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Yes, a pregnancy test kit does expire. The test kit comprises of a chemical that is used to detect the presence of HCG in the urine. Just like other chemicals, the chemical used in pregnancy tests can become less reactive with time and therefore become invalid. Manufactures of pregnancy kits use the chemicals shelf-life to come up with a specific date by which the chemical seizes to function properly. This is the expiration date of the pregnancy test and you will find it written on the box of the pregnancy test.
It is all about the special chemical in the pregnancy test, there is no telling exactly how the chemical will react when its shelf-life has passed unless it is tested specifically in the labs. So at home you will not be able to tell if the expired pregnancy test will give you accurate results or not. It is best not to use the expired test kit, if you want viable results just go and get another test from the pharmacy that is still within the expiry date indicated on the package.
Apart from a faulty or expired test kit, there are other factors that can give you a false pregnancy test result, this result can either be false positive or false negative. The situations include:
It is possible to take the pregnancy test incorrectly. Some tests require you to dip the stick into the urine instead of putting the stick in midstream. There may be errors in reading the results too, either by reading too early or too late (how to read test results). To get accurate result, you should follow the instructions as detailed on the pregnancy kit.
Taking the test too early, before enough HCG is available to be detected in the urine can give false results. Repeating the test after a couple of days can help verify the results.
There are some medical conditions that are known to affect pregnancy result tests. These medical conditions cause your body to produce HCG and thereby causing the pregnancy test to report a false positive result.
Women with irregular menstrual cycles are prone to getting false pregnancy results. It is advised that they retake the pregnancy test after a couple of days to verify and make sure the previous results are correct.