This Flushable Pregnancy Test Could Help Save Lives and the Environment

At-home pregnancy tests have come a long way from the original prototype Margaret Crane designed forty years ago, but in recent years not too much has changed. Bethany Edwards and Anna Simpson set out to improve upon a design that has long remained stagnant, by creating the world’s first flushable pregnancy test. They wanted to create a medically-accurate, sustainable test that wouldn’t end up in a landfill.

What they didn’t realize at the time was that while they were trying to save the planet they’d also end up saving women.

Edwards and Simpson met during grad school at the University of Pennsylvania and together founded Lia Diagnostics and created the pregnancy test of the future. The test, which has been cleared by the FDA, is 99 percent effective one day after a missed period. It will be available online in 2018 for $10 a test and flushes as well as 3-ply toilet paper.

Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.

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“Single-use diagnostics are only used for a few minutes and then discarded or incinerated,” Edwards told Tonic. “Discarded plastic [pregnancy test] housings are landfill-bound, existing far beyond the product’s extreme short lifecycle.” According to their website, home pregnancy tests contribute 2 million pounds of waste to U.S. landfills every year. By contrast, their test breaks down 98.2 percent after three months in soil.


Their initial goal was sustainability, but they quickly realized they could also fill a safety and privacy gap as well. While doing market research, the team asked women whether they would use the test. Women started telling stories about having to hide tests by taking them at work or burying them in the trash to keep the results a secret. That’s when the team realized their tests could also help keep women safe who are suffering from domestic violence.

According to Nancy Neylon, executive director of Ohio Domestic Violence Network, 1 in 4 women who experience some type of abuse from their partner also face reproductive coercion.

“This can include forced, unprotected sex in order to ensure pregnancy, tampering with birth control, even threatening to have sex with another woman and get her pregnant,” says Neylon. “Abusers are sadly very creative as they try to achieve and maintain control over their partners.”

The ability to keep pregnancy test results a secret could help keep women safe from their abusers while they make whatever decisions they need to make regarding the pregnancy. A flushable pregnancy test can’t eradicate intimate partner violence, but it can allow women to keep results to themselves while they figure out what to do with that information and how to best keep themselves safe.

The creators have been working hard to both adhere to FDA guidelines while also ensuring discretion. Once available, the tests can be delivered by mail and are small enough to fit in a regular mailing envelope to avoid unnecessary attention.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

69 comments

Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Thank you

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R3 months ago

Just what we need ~ more crap in our waterways.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson3 months ago

Thank you!

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Janet B
Janet B3 months ago

Thanks

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Sonia M
Sonia M3 months ago

Interesting article thanks for sharing

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Anna R
Anna R3 months ago

thank you

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Peggy B
Peggy B3 months ago

TY

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Past Member
Past Member 3 months ago

very cool

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