Drugstore Fertility Tests: A Waste of Money?

Amy Kuras

fertility testIt's a sucky and unfair biological fact, but still a fact: fertility declines sharply after 35, and peak fertility happens somewhere around age 27. Of course lots of us are still looking for a suitable babydaddy, or enjoying the climb up the career ladder, as our biological clock commences to tick very, very loudly. Many women don't want to get doctors involved before they have to, so they resort to a drugstore fertility test.

Not an outstanding idea as it turns out. These pee sticks test follicle-stimulating hormone, which tells the ovaries to mature an egg for ovulation. As the ovaries begin to run out of eggs and fertility starts to decline, more of it is needed to coax an egg out.

Unfortunately, the false positive rate on these tests is huge: 25 percent of women labeled "infertile" by the tests in a recent study were just as likely to get pregnant within six months as women who tested as having normal fertility.

And quite frankly, even if the test is accurate, it would be really tough to get the news that you may have missed the boat on pregnancy all alone in your bathroom. That kind of diagnosis leads to lots of questions and it's best to get that news from a health professional that can help lay out your options versus an inanimate plastic stick.

Same goes for many of the other at home diagnostic tests: do you really want to know that you are HIV positive, that your kid's on drugs, or that the person who thinks he's your kid's dad is not, in fact, the daddy? There's a reason Maury Povich makes serious money on those shows, people.


Image via First Response.com

Read More