The future of Pregnancy Testing is here!
Imagine how much how much smoother Monica's wedding day would've gone in Phoebe hadn't found Rachel's positive pregnancy test in the now decade-and-a-half old episode of Friends.
All of that drama could've been saved by using a flushable pregnancy test.
Fortunately, the future of pregnancy testing has ARRIVED!
We all know that using a pregnancy test, for obvious reasons, can be an exceptionally stressful time. And ever since the 1970s when the first at-home pregnancy test kit went on sale, the plastic stick has been a must-have for anyone who wants to know if they are pregnant. And it meant that you could avoid a trip to the doctors too which is a bonus if you ask me!
The technology used in the tests has improved loads since then, and when you use them properly they are 99% accurate. But it's been over 30 years since the pregnancy test strips got a major update ( with the exception of adding the digital component) so I'm excited to see changes happening.
A company called LIA Diagnostics today launched its first-ever flushable test giving us a little eco-friendly twist to conception. AND it gives a much more sustainable, disposable, and private way for women to find out if they are pregnant or not. They've ensured that designing for the environment didn't mean sacrificing the accuracy either, as the test is still 99% accurate - the same as their plastic counterparts!
So who are Lia Diagnostics?
Lia Diagnostics were founded back in 2015 by Bethany Edwards and Anna Simpson, following research Bethany had worked on as part of her Masters' degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She was really interested in the idea of creating products that match up to their lifestyle.
Where did their idea come from to make flushable tests?
Bethany and Anna were motivated by two things:
1 - Developing something in environmental sustainability
2- Women's health
They saw that nobody had changed the game in terms of pregnancy tests for over 30 years, and the traditional pregnancy tests have an incredibly short shelf life but also make an overwhelming amount of waste. They learned that pregnancy tests alone add 2million pounds of plastic into the environment every year. So they knew that they didn't just WANT to create something better, they HAD to.
In the course of designing Lia, both women also won more than $150,000 at design competitions where they were backed by many large companies.
But in the eyes of Bethany and Anna, Lia is more than just a single sustainable product; it is the beginning of a movement toward a host of sustainable products. They have already begun using their research to test other medical diagnostic tools, such as for urinary tract infections and ovulation; eventually, the company may also move out of women’s health into other areas of medical diagnosis as well.
“We see this as a step in the right direction in showing that you can create not only sustainable but beautiful products that are also effective and affordable,” Bethany said.
So how do the flushable pregnancy tests work?
Dubbed the 'pregnancy test of the future', it is made from 0% plastic that's 100% biodegradable. You can flush it, compost it or even save it in a scrapbook.
Instead of the typical plastic outer part, the test is made from paper that can break down in soil or water in about 2 weeks. And that's because it's made from the same natural, plant fibers as most toilet paper and is pretty light too.
There are no fancy new instructions as it works in exactly the same way as the pregnancy tests we are all used to - you pee on it for five seconds, lay the test flat, remove the tear tab and see your results.
How much do the new tests cost?
They're not available in the UK yet, but they cost around $14 for a two-pack.
Are there any concerns about the new pregnancy test?
The tests, unfortunately, aren't flawless. They have obvious accessibility problems as it's only available online in the U.S and isn't in any retail stores yet.
The results can also be difficult for vision-impaired people to read. But Bethany has said that they hope to innovate even further in the near future to make the test fully inclusive and accessible.
I'm personally super happy to see Lia changing the game of pregnancy tests. Especially as busy women, we don't just test at home. We test at work, we test on the go and there's no real element of privacy other than wrapping it up and hiding it in the bottom of a bin. So this is a real game-changer!