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Isn’t it amazingly convenient that you can go to the drug store and pick up an easy-to-use pregnancy test at the first signs that you may be pregnant OR even a few days after ovulation?  And how nice is it that the simple stick isn’t complicated and gives anxious and eager women results within minutes?! 

In the 1970’s women had to test with what seemed like a chemistry set.  From what I understand, these tests were messy and weren’t very user friendly.  It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that “stick technology” was introduced by E.P.T., and finally, the 90’s that the one-step test that we use today came along.

All of these methods were a vast improvement over what was used in the 1930’s.  Less than 100 years ago, FROGS were used to detect pregnancy! Between 1930 and 1950, thousands of African Clawed Frogs were imported all over the world to be used to determine pregnancy, now known as the xenopus pregnancy test.  So how did it work, you ask?

Doctors would ship the urine samples of women suspecting pregnancy to frog labs.  The urine sample would be injected into the hind leg of the female frog and if the frog had laid eggs by morning, the owner of the urine sample was pregnant.  The frogs’ response to the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, is to ovulate.  As crazy as this sounds, it is actually an improvement over what was previously used.

“Prior to Xenopus, female mice and rabbits had been used, but these had to be slaughtered, dissected and carefully examined for ovarian changes. Because toads were reusable and could be conveniently kept in aquaria, Xenopus made pregnancy testing practical on a larger scale than before.” (source: smithsonian.com)

I know that makes me a little more thankful for the modern “stick technology” and I’m sure the frogs are too!

One Response to “The evolution of frogs…I mean, pregnancy tests”

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