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Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 2014 Jul;74(7):661-669.

Strips of Hope: Accuracy of Home Pregnancy Tests and New Developments.

Author information

1
green-ivf, Grevenbroich, Germany ; Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
2
SPD Development Company Ltd., Bedford, United Kingdom.

Abstract

in English, German

The first home pregnancy test was introduced in 1976. Since then, pregnancy tests have become the most common diagnostic assay used at home. Pregnancy tests use antibodies to detect human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). It is an ideal marker of pregnancy since it rises rapidly and consistently in early pregnancy and can be detected in urine. The most advanced home pregnancy test currently available assesses the level of hCG found in urine and claims to provide women with reliable results within just a few weeks of pregnancy. Today, over 15 different types of home pregnancy test are available to buy over the counter in Germany. Many tests claim to be highly accurate and capable of detecting pregnancy before the next monthly period is due, although claims such as 8 days prior to menstruation are unrealistic. However, users and healthcare professionals should be aware that, although all are labelled as CE, there are currently no standard criteria for testing performance and claims. This review provides an overview of the development of home pregnancy tests and the data on their efficacy together with an analysis of published data on the accuracy of hCG for the detection of early pregnancy and studies on the use of home-based pregnancy tests. Preliminary data on some home pregnancy tests available in Germany are presented which indicate that many results do not match the claims made in the package insert. Healthcare professionals and women should be aware that some of the claims made for home pregnancy tests are inconsistent and that common definitions and testing criteria are urgently needed.

KEYWORDS:

hCG; pregnancy; pregnancy test

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