If you've ever taken a pregnancy test, you know the odd quandary you find yourself in over what to do with the thing once it's all over. Do you just, like, throw it in the trash? Keep it as a souvenir? Wrap it up and gift it to your partner? Who knows! But thanks to two UPenn graduate students, you may soon be able to buy pregnancy tests that can be simply flushed down the toilet, an innovation primed to reduce both harm to the planet and your own stress level.
It's called the Lia test and it was invented in 2015, but according to Jezebel just gained clearance from the FDA for over-the-counter sales, which means it will soon be available for purchase. Inventors Bethany Edwards and Anna Simpson, who just won the Disrupt Cup at TechCrunch’s Disrupt Berlin 2017, were motivated by the desire to create a product that wouldn't eventually end up in a landfill and would also make it easier for women to keep pregnancy testing private. Like other tests, Lia reacts to urine, displaying results as two lines if pregnant and one line if not pregnant, so there's no real learning curve for women using it. It's also the first major innovation in the design of at-home pregnancy tests since the invention of the stick test in 1987, which is, as Edwards notes, "kind of crazy."
"To date in our testing we’ve had 100 percent sensitivity and 100 percent specificity,” Simpson said during a TechCrunch Q&A. “So there’s no false positives, no false negatives, in the lab and in our user studies.”
According to TechCrunch, Lia will begin selling online in mid-2018 via its own website and Amazon. No word on when you'll be able to grab one at Duane Reade or CVS during a missed-period panic, but we're sure that's probably not far down the line. And it's also probably not the end.
“What we’ve done here is essentially creating a new category of water-dispersable, biodegradable diagnostics,” Edwards says. “This is just the start for us.”