1. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    Home pregnancy tests in the 1990s

    Discussion in 'Research' started by hvb, Aug 23, 2013.

    Hope someone knows: my character is using one of those. Does she pee on the stick or does she have to collect her urine first? I know the stick, or the end of it, will turn blue if she is pregnant. How long does she have to wait?
    I have googled, found a site on the history of pregnancy tests, emailed the people there, they couldn't help, followed their suggestions, but so far, it all ended in a blind alley.
    There is a Murphy Brown episode which, when I tried to play it, told me it could not be shown in my country (?huh??) There is a photo of her with a stick and a cup, but that's a tea cup :D
    I contacted Pfizer, which used to own the company that produced the tests, but all I got was: " we don't make them".
    Anyone happen to know? I am really looking forward to writing this scene, my character isn't sure if her husband will be pleased.....
    Thanks
    hvb
     
  2. hvb
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    Oh and this is in the early 1990, the child is now 12.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Well, it so happens I used one of those in 1989. ;) If I recall correctly, I peed on it. But it wouldn't have mattered, you could have done it either way.

    That differs from other labs like the rapid HIV tests I use for blood exposure follow ups. With those you apply a measured amount of blood then follow it with 3 drops of reagent and wait 15 minutes. With the IPTs you just add the urine and wait for the + or – to show up.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Correction, that would have been 1988. The "internal server error" I keep getting won't let me edit the year in the post. My son was born in 1989.
     
  5. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    Thanks Ginger. In the meantime, I persevered a bit more and found this:
    9 months ago
    Do you remember how long it took for the result to show up? I can work with the daughter of my character born in 1989!
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    My son being 24, you can imagine the details of the test are a bit fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure it was only a couple minutes. I vaguely remember still being in the bathroom when shocked by the +. :)
     
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  7. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    If it's any help, I did a 'pee-on-the-stick' test two years prior to Ginger. On the packet it gave an approximate waiting time of 2-4 minutes. I remember my timer hit four minutes there was no change to the pregnancy indicator. I was about to start jumping for joy but my relief was short-lived—within seconds I noticed the little box which denoted a positive result dissected by a faint blue line.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
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  8. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    Thanks girls, this is very helpful.
     
  9. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    Oops, just realised my math is out: if my character's daughter is now 12, the test would have been done around 2000. Ginger, your telling us your son is 24 made me look at my math again!
    Back to the drawing board, or rather to google to see what the 2000 tests were like!
     
  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    You pee on it first time you pee in the morning. Then you leave it on a window sill and bite your nails for 10 minutes. After that, if the little window half way up the stick has a plus sign on it, you have a problem. Or a reason to celebrate. Minus sign is, however, the opposite ;)

    The only thing that's changes since the '90s is that pregnancy can be detected earlier (used to be 7-8 weeks and now is 3-4), the waiting time might be shorter (5 minutes) and the window might turn different colour (purple for pregnant, for example) rather than rely on a fairly pale lines to detect the result. The basic design of the stick, however, remains very similar.
     
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  11. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    Thank you jazzabel, much appreciated.
     
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  12. Fred
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    Our son was born in 2000. As Jazzabel described, I don't think the tests my wife used were very different from those described by Ginger and Obs ten years earlier. I do remember being told that the local GP had nothing any more reliable in those early stages. I recall there were blood tests later, but we were both far too caught up in what was going to happen for me to remember very clearly all these years later! :)

    Is this any good to you? - http://history.nih.gov/exhibits/thinblueline/

    …and we'll always have Wikipedia! - http://history.nih.gov/exhibits/thinblueline/

    Good luck! :)
     
  13. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I have experience with those in 1998 and 2000, (my son is currently 12). You pee on the stick, then wait for the blue line as Obsidian said. Was supposed to take 2-4 minutes but every time I did it the damned thing changed immediately. lol. That was early too, for both, maybe 2 weeks late - max. Depending on the character, she'll already know something's up anyway. Even that soon, I was already sick in the morning, was exhausted, and my breasts hurt.. so much. And the smell of eggs cooking made me run for the bathroom, every time. So, as you're writing, don't forget all the possible physical changes that your character could possibly be in denial about, lol.
     
  14. hvb
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    Thanks, I did research those.
     
  15. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    Thanks Trish, you are absolutely right and your posts provides me with lots of insight of the time. (My boys were born in 1971-75). Re changes, my character is waiting for her husband to come home, makes herself a cup of coffee, then throws it out, because it 'tastes funny'. One of my early symptoms, couldn't drink coffee for a few months. We won't even talk about bacon cooking.....
    How important is it that she does this test first thing in the morning? It would suit my story much better if the test also works later in the day. As in: she buys it say after lunch somewhere, then has the test, then has to wait for her husband to come home and he is on late shift.
    Also: she was on the pill but had a bout of gastro enteritis and in my days you were advised to practice some other kind of birth control if that happened as the absorption of the drug could be affected. Is that right?
     
  16. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Oh my, too funny. Sorry, but I was on birth control at the time, but had been sick and had to take antibiotics. No one told me you have to use condoms then, so I didn't, and surprise! I took my test when I got off work, which happened to be morning, but certainly would be evening for my body (I worked nights). It was instantaneous, lol.
     
  17. hvb
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    I am so enjoying this conversation! Thanks so much Trish! Had a look at your blog, needs updating!
     
  18. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    LOL, it's funny, isn't it? Yeah I know it does... I'll get to it lol
     
  19. chicagoliz
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    I don't believe that the basic science/working mechanism on this has changed much in the last 30 or so years. The tests are pretty accurate and just detect the presence of a certain hormone that is present when a person is pregnant (a kind of "litmus test.") It doesn't make much difference if you pee on the stick or into a cup and then put in the test strip. The strip is made of or has certain chemicals that will change color (which can be made into plus signs or words or whatever the manufacturer thinks is most desirable) if this hormone is present. Sometimes it will show up immediately, sometimes it takes a couple minutes.
     
  20. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    The strangest thing is that I thought I posted the above a few days ago. When I re-checked this thread, my reply was ghosted and I had an option to post reply. So I guess it never posted. Weird. Sorry if subsequent posts made it redundant.
     
  21. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    Thanks chicagoliz. Re peeing on a strip or sticking it into a cup of urine, if there is a requirement, it does make a difference to my story. I don't want my character peeing on a stick when at that time, around 2000, that wasn't possible. Yes, I did say 1990 originally, was 10 years out with my timeline.
    Thanks again
     

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