HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The pregnancy test purchased at the dollar store says 'Over 99% Accurate' but the price is just one dollar. Is this a case of you get what you pay for or is the test as accurate as the label claims?
Tara Ledford wasn't going to spend a lot of money on something she knew was going to be negative, so she went to Dollar Tree one night after work to pick one up. The test can be pretty pricey after all, ranging up to $35.00. But after Ledford took the test, low and behold it was positive, and accurate. Now she's 22 weeks pregnant, expecting her first child, a baby girl.
"Her name is going to be Page Elizabeth Harter," she says.
A reproductive endocrinologist with Coastal Fertility Specialist in Myrtle beach, Dr. Michael Slowey, says the basic technology is the same for all the products. Considering the tests all look to detect the same thing, the pregnancy hormone, when the products are used correctly, they are essentially equal.
Slowey says other factors are what can make a product less effective. Things like how long the product has been sitting on the shelf and how it was handled prior to arriving at the store, because the tests are very sensitive.
"Antibodies are heat sensitive and so [the question is] 'how have these boxes of tests been handled'," he says. "Have they been sitting out in a nice South Carolina summer on a loading dock?"
You also need to make sure you are following the directions correctly. The box may say 'Over 99% Accurate' but Slowey points out that's usually under controlled laboratory conditions.
"There's a difference with having someone with laboratory experience do the test versus all the rest of us do the test and in those instances, those tests are about 75 to 80 percent accurate," Slowey adds.
Most tests have an expiration date on the side of the box and that can be helpful when shopping. So, why pay eight times the amount for the same product?
It could be psychological. After Ledford's dollar store test showed positive, she doubted the results and purchased a more expensive one from the drug store…which also tested positive.
The fact is, the only test that is 100% accurate is a blood test. But when you need to know right away, store bought tests offer convenience and privacy. Ledford plans on keeping the dollar store test forever. The double pink lines are starting to fade but in a few short months her life will change forever.