Monday, June 27, 2005

Breaking News, Part II

More news from the wild and wacky world of ovulation prediction and pregnancy test kits.

Women today have more options for pregnancy testing than ever before. Ever eager to determine what women want, kit makers introduce new varieties of test kits all the time. Now you can choose tests that give results five days before your expected period. But no rush. No pressure. They still sell the less sensitive tests too. So if you’re a masochist, you can still wait till after you’re a few days late to test.

Of course, there are lots of consumer reports articles out there you can find to go over the boring stuff, like how many milligrams of which kinds of hormone have to be present in how many milliliters of pee before a given brand of test will register results. I want to discuss more important things. Like the presentation of the results.

If you're an IF veteran, you're probably already used to looking for pink lines. After months, if not years, of straining your eyes to try to determine the relative shading of the pink lines on ovulation-prediction kits, it’ll come as a real relief to graduate to pregnancy-test kits, where the key question is HOW MANY pink lines there are. One? Sorry, please play again. Two? Snake eyes! You’re goin ta Vegas, baby.

For those partial to pink lines, First Response makes a very nice product. Anecdotal evidence suggests that testing with a kit that presents results in pink increases your likelihood of having a baby girl by an unquantifiable percentage.

For those hoping for a boy, however, allow me to suggest the use of Clear Blue Easy. True, this test is a bit less sensitive than First Response. But it does have important advantages. The best part is that the results come in *blue*! AND, there’s no need to count lines with this test. Instead, you look for a plus sign or a minus sign. Plus? Your result is positive. Minus? It’s negative. See? It’s clear. It’s easy. And it’s blue! This test goes great with the yellow and blue nursery d├ęcor favored for little boys. In fact, you’ll want to be sure to buy multiples of this kit so you can generate lots of pretty blue plus signs. Then you can buy the Pottery Barn conversion kit and use them to make Junior his own very special personalized crib mobile (fishing line not included).

Of course, the kits mentioned above can be a little confusing. With First Response you have to *count* the number of lines in order to interpret your result. Kit makers realize the strain that such counting puts on the female brain. In fact, extensive survey results reveal that, on average, an infertile woman will wait just 2.5 days post-ovulation before beginning to test for pregnancy. Yet even the most sensitive tests won’t work until 9 to 10 days post-O. Recognizing that most women can’t count as high as ten, much less tell the difference between one line or two, scientists have worked to address the problem.

Clearly, Clear Blue Easy, with its confusing mathematical symbols, does not mark much of an improvement over the one-line-versus-two-line tests. Plus signs? Minus signs? Don’t they realize that women who can’t count are only going to be further frightened by symbols for computation? What does a positive mean anyway? Good news, right! Which could mean either pregnant or not pregnant, depending on what you’re hoping for… Sheesh.

Enter the good folks at E.P.T. They call their test the EARLY Pregnancy Test, even though it can’t be used until you expect your period. Apparently they mean not that you can use their test early-—you can’t—-but that it can be used to confirm an already detected early pregnancy with Certainty. Knowing how much better women are with English than math, product developers at E.P.T. now offer the “Certainty” test. E.P. T. Certainty promises you results written in plain English, saying either “pregnant” or “not pregnant.” Now how thoughtful is that? Too bad for you, if you’re not an English speaker.

Don’t even get me started on pregnancy testing for the blind. Until now, nothing has been available for those who can’t see. But hope is on the way. Because manufacturers realize how few women with the disposable income available to waste on their products can actually read in the first place. So they are now developing a new line of pregnancy tests designed to deliver results audibly instead of visibly.

Still in the prototype stage, these new tests will work like singing telegrams. Your pee stream will activate the miniature audio speakers, making the result loud and clear. Searching around for an appropriately catchy tune, drug companies are reaching back to the glory days. Remember those service announcements that aired in the 1970’s warning children not to mistake medicine for candy? Well, now that those former children are reaching the infertile years, manufacturers have decided to resurrect the “We’re Not Candy!” jingle.

Remember ladies? It went like this:
‘We’re NOT can-dy.
Even though we look so fine and dan-dy.
When you’re sick, we come in han-dy,
BU-Ut
We’re NOT can-dy.”

Coming soon to a drugstore near you, the BOS (Blind or Stupid) Pregnancy Test:

"You're NOT preg-nant.
Even though the news makes you in-dig-nant.
IF you were, you'd feel tran-scend-ent,
BU-Ut
You're NOT preg-nant."

Damn. Now I can’t get that tune out of my head.