The Internet Thinks Digital Pregnancy Tests Are a Scam

Turns out digital pregnancy tests are just regular pregnancy tests with a digital screen, which has proven shocking to some

digital pregnancy tests
Inside of a digital pregnancy test is ... wait for it ... a pregnancy test.
Carlos G. Lopez/Getty Images

There’s really only so much you can do to pass the time during an apocalypse, and it seems that people have now started taking apart pregnancy tests in their spare time while waiting for the world to end.

In the process, pregnancy test deconstructors have made what seems to have been a jarring discovery for many: digital pregnancy tests are just regular pregnancy tests with an electronic reader.

After Twitter user Xtoff shared this apparently alarming discovery with the internet back in August, electronics whiz Foone decided to investigate further, posting a thread tracing a step-by-step pregnancy test deconstruction. Ultimately, Foone determined that digital pregnancy tests are “a scam, basically,” amounting to little more than the same test strip much cheaper pregnancy tests use encased in plastic with a digital reader.

The general idea here seems to be that pricey digital pregnancy tests are “a scam” because, rather than introducing some kind of high-tech, digital pregnancy detecting wizardry, they use the same method of pregnancy detection as their cheaper counterparts, just wrapped up in a more expensive shell.

The thing is, however, that digital pregnancy tests have never pretended to be anything else. The point of a digital pregnancy test has always simply been the ease of reading results, as Karen Duncan, an attending physician and director of the obstetrics and gynecology residency program at NYU, told Vice. While traditional pregnancy tests challenge users to the apparently recondite task of determining whether one line or two has appeared in the test window, a digital pregnancy test presents users with a simple, “pregnant” or “not pregnant” reading, which, for some, is worth a few extra bucks.

“You’re paying a higher price to take away the need to interpret the results because they’re just handed to you,” Duncan told Vice. “It’s a fee for making the test more simple to interpret.”

While I’ll readily agree that this is a poor use of money, it’s not really fair to call it a scam. I’m not sure what exactly these pregnancy test investigators expected to find upon deconstruction, but digital pregnancy tests never pretended to be anything other than a stick you pee on. All they promised was a digital screen, which they have. If that’s something you chose to waste your money on, I agree that was a poor financial decision, but it kind of seems like your own fault if you somehow expected a pregnancy test to contain some kind of high-tech pregnancy prognosticating software instead of … a pregnancy test.

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