Tuesday, November 23, 2010

History of the humble "HPT"

Here is some background on the history of much loved/equally hated home pregnancy test. Borrowed from http://listverse.com/2010/11/23/top-10-shocking-historical-beliefs-and-practices/

It is an advantage for a woman to understand that she is pregnant before having a child. It allows her to mentally prepare for the birth and prevent herself from using drugs and alcohol. As you can imagine, world history is full of bizarre techniques that were used to test for human pregnancy. In ancient Greece and Egypt, watered bags of wheat and barley were used for this purpose. The female would urinate on the bags and if a certain type of grain spouted, it indicated that she was going to have a child. Hippocrates suggested that if a woman suspected she was pregnant, she should drink a solution of honey water at bedtime. This would result in abdominal cramps for a positive test.

During medieval times, many scientists performed uroscopy, which is an ineffective way of examining a patient’s urine. In 1928, a major breakthrough in the development of pregnancy tests was made when two German gynecologists named Selmar Aschheim and Bernhard Zondek introduced an experiment with the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Before this time, hCG was thought to be produced by the pituitary gland, but in the 1930s, Georgeanna Jones discovered that hCG was produced by the placenta. This discovery was vital in the development of modern day pregnancy tests, which rely heavily on hCG as an early marker of pregnancy.

In 1927, Zondek and Aschheim developed the rabbit test. The test consisted of injecting the woman’s urine into a female rabbit. The rabbit was then examined over the next couple days. If the rabbit’s ovaries responded to the female’s urine, then it was determined that hCG was present and the woman was pregnant. The test was a successful innovation and it accurately detected pregnancy. The rabbit test was widely used from the 1930s to 1950s. All rabbits that were used in the program had to be surgically operated on and were killed. It was possible to perform the procedure without killing the rabbits, but it was deemed not worth the trouble and expense. Today, modern science has evolved away from using live animals in pregnancy tests, but the rabbit test was considered a stepping stone during the middle of the 20th century.

1 comments:

WiseGuy said... Best Blogger Tips

Love it!

I did do a post on the History of IUI a long while back, and it was such a revelation for me.