How to Get a Cheap or Free Pregnancy Test (and Not Worry It's Wrong)
When women think they may be pregnant, they often feel the need to take several at-home pregnancy tests "just to be sure." Because pregnancy tests can be expensive, a few months of self-diagnosis quickly add up to a small fortune. Instead, use these resources to cash in on cheap ways to test for a pregnancy.
Photo by flickr.com/Attain Fertility
Planned Parenthood.Most Planned Parenthood centers offer free, walk-in pregnancy tests. If you don't have health insurance, bring identification or a pay stub to determine your eligibility for government-funded programs that enable many Planned Parenthood locations to offer pregnancy testing. Planned Parenthood often administers a urine rather than a blood test.
Clinics.Most communities have women's health and/or clinics for anyone that perform free pregnancy testing for walk-in patients. Check online to find one near your home.
Doctor's Office.If you suspect you may be pregnant, call your doctor. He or she can run a blood test to determine whether or not you are. Health insurance often covers the cost of this test. If you're not responsible for a co-pay at the doctor's office, this test may be completely free.
Cheap At-Home Tests
"Internet Cheapies".There are several sites, such as early-pregnancy-tests.com, saveontests.com, and accuratepregnancytests.com, that sell testing strips (dip in a urine sample) and cassettes (apply urine to test medium with a pipette) in bulk, drastically reducing the cost of each test. Depending on the number you order, tests costs as little as 40 cents each. You must plan ahead to have them on hand, though, and you have to add in shipping costs, but you could save upwards of $10 per test.
Dollar Store.Most dollar stores carry individual at-home pregnancy tests for, yes, $1. While this may be more than double the price of an Internet cheapie, you can run to the store the day you need the test. These cheap pregnancy tests are cassettes rather than strips.
Matters to Consider
Sensitivity.Both the Internet cheapies and the dollar store tests claim to be as sensitive as tests such as Clearblue Easy and First Response, which sell for at least $20 per two-pack. These tests can detect the pregnancy hormone hCG in amounts as low as 20-25 mIU/ml, which would be present as soon as five days before a missed period. Ironically, some of the more expensive tests can only detect levels as low as 50 mIU/ml, and don't provide results until many days later than tests that pick up lower amounts of the hormone.
Photo by flickr.com/louisehabash
Expiration.Most at-home pregnancy tests have a two- to three-year shelf life. This is particularly useful when ordering cheap Internet pregnancy tests because the more you order (up to 200 tests at a time), the cheaper each test will be. If you're actively trying to conceive, you can save big by ordering in bulk without worry about wasting them. Obviously, if you get pregnant quickly you may not need them all, but it may be worth the risk to send in an order for a dozen or so.
Testing Time.Cheap pregnancy tests are notorious for giving false positives if interpreted outside of the suggested 3- to 5-minute testing time because they can produce what are known as "evaporation lines" as they begin to dry. Once the interpretation time limit is up, throw away the test to avoid confusing results. While this is, anecdotally, more common with cheap pregnancy tests, it can happen with the pricey ones, as well.