The home pregnancy test kit, with its easy accessibility and high degree of reliability has made it possible for women to find out early and accurately the status of a possible pregnancy in the privacy of their own homes.
The home pregnancy test has, over the past few decades empowered women by putting this knowledge into their own hands; the better to be able to control their own destinies.
Prior to the arrival of this device, women had to wait for a doctor to perform a blood test to confirm a pregnancy.
Now this is a simple procedure that women can quickly and conveniently perform at home to get a very accurate answer to their question about pregnancy.
A home pregnancy test kit is something that detects the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the urine of a pregnant woman.
Elevated levels of hCG in blood or urine indicates the subsistence of the pregnancy.
However, since blood being used for a home test has obvious problems, the simple expedient of collecting a urine sample to test hCG levels is used for the home pregnancy test; which typically requires peeing on a stick so to speak.
These tests are simple to use: they require a few drops of urine, preferably collected from an early morning sample so as to offer a high concentration of hCG.
When placed on the test strip the change in color or will indicate in some other way whether a woman is pregnant or not.
The instructions are simple to follow and clearly printed on the package. The test kits do have the following limitations however:
- The home pregnancy test kits generally available will not be able to detect a pregnancy directly after conception. Most kits will tell you to wait until the first day that you would ordinarily have expected your period to carry out the test. This is because the test depends on the implantation of the embryo into the uterine wall to have been completed before it will show up positive. So when performed too early, this will yield a false negative even when conception has occurred.
- Though laboratory testing has shown a high degree of accuracy in yielding results; when in the hands of actual consumers, this accuracy is considerably reduced; some estimates put the degree of accuracy as low as 75%.
- Improper usage, very early use, or using expired home pregnancy test kits could result in false negatives or false positives as well.
- For those women who have irregular menstrual cycles and unpredictable ovulatory episodes may have inaccurate results. It is not when a woman had intercourse that decides the time of conception, but when ovulation occurred that is material. So, if a woman ovulates late, conception will be late and will not be able to be detected in home pregnancy test.
So while the home pregnancy test kit is a powerful tool not only for convenience but also privacy, it is subject to its limitations.