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Do Expired Pregnancy Tests Work

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Feeling fatigued and realizing your period’s due, you reach for a stored pregnancy test only to question if it’s expired, pondering its shelf life and effectiveness. The quick answer: yes, pregnancy tests do expire due to the degradation of hCG-detecting antibodies, potentially leading to inaccurate results. Always check for expiration dates to ensure reliability when needed.

Why do pregnancy tests expire?

Home pregnancy tests function by detecting hCG levels in urine, a hormone produced after egg implantation in the uterus. They utilize antibodies linked to color-changing labels to bind hCG, resulting in either marker lines or digital readings. However, these components degrade over time, leading to reduced accuracy post-expiration, often manifesting as false negatives. Hence, the expiration date, usually one to three years after manufacture, ensures reliable results.

When do pregnancy tests expire?

Pregnancy test expiration dates, specified by the manufacturer, are prominently displayed on both the box bottom and the foil wrapper of each test stick. Storing tests in their foil wrappers until immediate use is essential. The expiration date corresponds to the manufacturing date, emphasizing the need to check it upon purchase and before each use to prevent potential unexpected expiration.

Do digital pregnancy tests expire?

Digital pregnancy tests, operating similarly to traditional tests by detecting hCG levels in urine, can also lose efficacy due to expired components. Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Tests feature expiration dates on both the box bottom and the foil wrapper for each test stick, ensuring users are aware of the test’s viability.

Do expired pregnancy tests work?

No — expired pregnancy tests cannot be counted on to produce a reliable result. The expired test may not be able to detect hCG levels that a non-expired pregnancy test could, which could lead to a false negative result. A false negative can delay decision making, lifestyle changes and prenatal care.

Can expired pregnancy tests result in a false positive?

Pregnancy tests detect the hCG hormone, typically present only during pregnancy, making false positives highly uncommon. If an expired test yields a positive result, chances are you’re pregnant, yet its accuracy is compromised. Therefore, retesting with a non-expired test is advised. Regardless of expiration status, consulting a healthcare professional upon a positive result is crucial for confirmation and further guidance.

Key takeaway | Don’t use an expired pregnancy test

The next time you’re cleaning out your bathroom drawers, check the expiration dates on any home pregnancy tests you have on hand. Make sure to store your tests appropriately and take the tests as per usage instructions. This includes keeping tabs on expiration dates. Disposing of expired tests will give you some peace of mind and ensure accuracy the next time you need to test.

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