The Early Home Pregnancy Test: How it Compares with the Ones of Today



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History

The first home pregnancy test, EPT came on the American market in 1978 and at the time the letters stood for Early Pregnancy Test although today those letters stand for Error Proof Test. It was the first home pregnancy test to get FDA approval and made its debut at the price of $10.

The package of this early home pregnancy test included a test tube, a vial of purified water and red blood cells from a sheep Doctors agreed the test could be done at home but wanted to test their patients anyway once they came into the office.

The early home pregnancy test took two hours and was a little intimidating what with having a test tube and a medicine dropper. You had to look in an angled mirror that was placed under the test tube which was in a plastic stand to see the results. A dark ring meant the test was positive.

Not long after that the early home pregnancy test went from a dark ring to a thin blue line to indicate pregnancy. Even then though, you had to be several days late for the test to be able to detect pregnancy. EPT averaged 97% accuracy for positives and 80% accuracy for negatives

Progress

We’ve come a long way baby! Two hours! That’s like going from the oven to the microwave. Young women today would laugh if they knew how long the rest of us had to wait. Not to mention the whole test tube thing. It was scary and messy and thank God for cups and sticks.

Today finding out if you’re pregnant is a breeze. When EPT came out, they were the early home pregnancy test although they were quickly followed by Predictor, Answer and ACU-TEST. At some point, perhaps because today the idea of an early home pregnancy test is a test that can indicate pregnancy the first day of a missed period or even earlier, EPT changed its name to Error Proof Test.

That seems fitting since early is no longer the incentive as women are used to being able to test for pregnancy “early”. Today, women want accuracy in an early home pregnancy test. That part hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years. We still want to know right now and you better be right.

We’re still making progress though. Some of the home pregnancy tests have gotten rid of the blue line that replaced the dark circle and we’re getting into words now. Guess which ones? PREGNANT and NOT PREGNANT. I wonder who thought of that one. Must have been someone who once stared at the bottom of a test tube until her eyes popped out of her head.

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