Blog Do Pregnancy Tests Expire? Health Guide for Women

Do Pregnancy Tests Expire? Health Guide for Women

Do pregnancy tests expire? 

Let’s get you the answer first. 


It doesn’t matter whether you are a digital home pregnancy kit or an early response one; every type comes with an expiration date. Just like most of the products, this date is typically stamped on the pregnancy test kit box. 

Along with that, the individual wrapping also has an expiration date. That means, in case you get a stray test without its box, you will still be able to find when it will expire. Or, in case it already has, you will get to know that as well. 


Do Pregnancy Tests Expire: Whyyyyyyyy?

do pregnancy tests expire

All the home pregnancy test kits detect the hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin in the urine and then show the result. 

This is a particular hormone that is produced when an embryo implants in the uterus. Our body automatically produces this hormone when a woman gets pregnant. And in case you don’t have hCG, you are not pregnant. 

However, in case you are pregnant, you will have a rapid rise of hCG hormone levels in your body during the early days and weeks of your pregnancy. 

The specific chemical that is used in home pregnancy test kits in order to detect the hCG is a trade secret. All we know is that it is an hCG antibody. We all know that antibodies react with certain substances. So, when the chemical reacts with hCG, it has to be the antibody of it. 

That means the antibody being used in the home pregnancy test kit has a shelf life. After that shelf life or a particular period of time, the antibody will not be able to react with hCG. 

Read More: Diet and Foods For Pregnant Women

How Long Do Pregnancy Tests Last?

do pregnancy tests expire

Usually, after manufacturing, all these test goods last for around 1 to 3 years. Also, an extra sensitive, high-quality test might last longer than your “internet cheapie” test. But the main talk is that they all have a shelf life, and after that, they lose the power of detection. 

What’s The Case Of an Expired Pregnancy Kit? 

You might already have a concept that a home pregnancy test kit doesn’t guarantee accuracy after it expires. When the chemical is no longer capable of detecting the hCG, even though it is present in the urine, it will give you a negative result. 

That means you will get a negative result, even though you are actually pregnant. 

Here, false positives are possible as well. Especially in case all that time the test kit was in your bathroom, exposed to humidity and heat. The main thing is that when you have an expired test, anything can happen with the result. 

That is why I will always recommend you check the expiry date of your pregnancy test kit before using it. 

Get The Most Accurate Result From Home Pregnancy Kit

When you are really serious about it and just want to get an accurate result from your home pregnancy test kit, I will recommend you to go with the following. 

When you are buying a home pregnancy test kit, it is always best to check the expiration date on the box. As the expiration dates might need a little wiggle room, and that depends on how the test kits are stored. That is why you should always look for a date which is just more than a few months away. 

I will always ask you to wait to do the test until your period is late. I know this is a little hard. Also, there are tests which promise early results up to a time period of 6 days before you miss your period. 

However, these tests are some of the most accurate 1 or 2 days after you miss your period. Even if you go through the fine print, you will be able to see that advertised claims of 99% accuracy only apply during this particular time frame. 

It is always advised to test the first-morning pee for testing. Usually, at this time, your urine has the highest level of concentration of hCG

Once the time limit is over, I will advise you to discard the test strips. In most cases, the major brands are told to read the test results within the time period of 5 to 10 minutes. I know; the problem is actually digging a test kit out of the trash later. 

In case you have done it, there’s no need to be ashamed. In the case of a lot of women, an extra line might have appeared just because of the evaporation or moisture and not because you are pregnant. 

Here, you always need to also keep in mind that a faint line is still a positive result. But, our eyes often can play tricks on us. That is why in case the line is so faint or faded that it is making you second guess yourself, I will advise you to test again within a couple of days. 

When you are storing fresh and unused tests, it is recommended to store them in a cool and dry place, just like most medicines. And this place might not at all be your bathroom. Although this is not that common, individually wrapped tests always come sealed, and moisture can always make tests a lot less accurate. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

I believe you get the answer to your question, “do pregnancy tests expire?” Still, being a woman, I know there might be some sounds and queries you still have in your mind. That is why, now, I am answering some common questions that women usually have.

Knowing them will help you have a clearer insight regarding this thing. 

Q1: Do Expired Pregnancy Tests Work?

Ans: I have mentioned earlier when a pregnancy test kit expires, the particular antibodies, which are used in order to detect the hCG levels, start to break down. That means the test might not be able to detect the hCG levels, which a non-expired or proper pregnancy test would be capable of. As a result, you might get a false negative result.

Q2: Can An Expired Pregnancy Test Show Positive?

Ans: With time, the particular antibodies, which are present in home pregnancy tests, start to lose their effectiveness and also evaporate. Usually, it shows negative, but still, it is going to show you an inaccurate result in case you are using it after the expiry date. That is why it is always advised to check the expiry date before paying for a home pregnancy test kit.

Q3: How Often Are Expired Pregnancy Tests Wrong?

Ans: As I have told you, in all cases, in an expired pregnancy test, the antibodies lose the capability of detecting the hCG level. That’s why it shows a false negative.

Wrapping It Up!

Now, apart from having the answer to your question, “do pregnancy tests expire?” you also get to know how to check it accurately and how to store your pregnancy kit. So, next time, just the way you check the expiry date for other products, you also should check the same while buying a home pregnancy test kit.

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