If you have stocked home pregnancy test kits in your home, then you would have wondered, ‘Does a pregnancy test expire?’
A home pregnancy test is a very important thing in a woman’s life once she makes the choice of becoming a mom. A wrong pregnancy test result can either make you or break you.
Using a pregnancy test correctly is as important as choosing a right the pregnancy test. After selecting the brand, you got to check the expiry date also.
Pregnancy tests do expire, and after that, they are just a piece of plastic. An expired pregnancy test gives a wrong result.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about expiry of a pregnancy test.
Every woman who wants to be a mother must read these…
When does a pregnancy test expire?
A pregnancy test has an expiry date mentioned on the packing. These dates vary depending on the brand you use and also the variant.
Different variants of the same brand will have different expiry dates. A digital pregnancy test expiry may be longer than a standard stick pregnancy test.
- The shelf life of pregnancy test depends on the quality of the pregnancy test. A good quality pregnancy test coming up to the standards laid my medical councils will have a life of around two to three years.
- A low-grade pregnancy test might expire earlier than its expensive counterparts. It is because of the quality of hCG strip used in the pregnancy test is not sufficient to live for more than two years. A cheaper pregnancy test might expire within few months or a year.
There is a catch though. In accordance with the medical protocols. These expiry dates are of six months earlier one than the actual expiry date of a pregnancy test.
However, ideally one must not use pregnancy test after the date of expiry as mentioned on the packaging of a pregnancy test.
How does a pregnancy test expire?
A pregnancy test has hCG antibodies (detector particles) attached to the hCG strip. The hCG hormone comes in urine only when a woman is pregnant. These antibodies (particles) can evaluate hCG levels and detect pregnancy. Antibodies are organic particles.
The monoclonal antibodies are antibodies cloned from a single particle. They have a life where they are functional. Once they cross their shelf life, they no longer have the ability to detect hCG in urine. Hence the working part of the pregnancy test gets defunct.
Why does a pregnancy test expire?
A pregnancy test expires because the working part of the kit is an organic particle. The hCG antibody has a life.
There is nothing else discovered till now that can test pregnancy at home. It is because the only change in a pregnant woman externally is the release of hCG hormone in her urine.
A woman who is not pregnant in normal circumstance won’t excrete urine with hCG.
Early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, cramps, bleeding and missed period can’t help detect pregnancy.
As an organic substance is the detector particle of hCG pregnancy test, it cannot be eternal. It is unavoidable that a pregnancy test doesn’t expire.
The dye used in pregnancy test also has a life. Just like watercolors dry up after a certain time. Even the pregnancy test dye gets spoilt.
Can you use an expired pregnancy test?
Does an expired pregnancy test work? No, we have explained it. So you cannot use a pregnancy test that will give false results. It is highly risky for you and any viable pregnancy you might be carrying.
Once the hCG antibodies are not functional the pregnancy test expires, hence it is no longer usable.
Let’s say that the antibodies did not expire even then the strip will be so fragile that as soon as you dip or expose it midstream in urine, it will tear.
It might be invisible to the naked eye but it breaks the capillary action, and hence the urine will not rise in the pregnancy test.
Therefore you cannot use an expired pregnancy test.
How to select the right pregnancy test based on their expiry?
Don’t stock pregnancy tests unless you have undergone treatments that need you to take a pregnancy test every day.
If you want to save money, then save it in other things and not while buying pregnancy tests.
And always buy a pregnancy that is at least six months younger than its predicted expiry date.
Can you prevent pregnancy test from getting expired?
No, not as yet until the scientists find a new particle for detecting hCG that won’t be organic.
You can do nothing to prevent a pregnancy test from expiring. But one can take some precautions while storing a pregnancy test such as:
- Keep the pregnancy test away from moisture: It damages a pregnancy test the most by forming indent lines and reacting to it.
- Never refrigerate a pregnancy test: Again for the same reason that a refrigerator has a lot of moisture that will harden and crack the hCG strip.
- Keep the pregnancy test away from sunlight: It will create cycles of heating up and cooling down the pregnancy test. This is damaging for the pregnancy test.
- Keep the pregnancy test in a place that has no radiations coming from mobile phones etc.: Radiation can always alter the makeup of anything. Hence it is advisable that you keep the pregnancy test away from radiation.
- Keep the pregnancy test in a cool and dry place.
What to do after the pregnancy test expired?
Throw the pregnancy test!
You have no option other than throwing an expired pregnancy test. There is no point collecting trash.
An expired pregnancy test will never work. Some hospitals and medical organizations might want you to give the expired drugs and other medical goods.
You can try searching them and give away the expired pregnancy test.
It is highly recommended that you read everything about a pregnancy test before taking a pregnancy test.
Even after that, an appointment with an expert such as a gynecologist is a must to confirm the pregnancy test.