Last week, the FDA cleared the first-ever flushable pregnancy test — and it's set to be available on the market by mid-2018.
Lia, a biodegradable and flushable pregnancy test, offers a more sustainable option for women to find out whether or not they might be expecting. Though it's the first of its kind, the test promises to be 99% accurate, (as most over-the-counter pregnancy tests are) and it works the same way any other at-home test would — the only difference is that it's a little easier on the environment.
The test was conceived in 2015 by Bethany Edwards and Anna Simpson, who were then grad students attending the University of Pennsylvania, and met during their master's program.
Edwards tells Refinery29 that the idea for Lia came about from a desire to be more environmentally-friendly. Among the questions that she and Simpson posed were, "How can we eliminate plastic? How can we make the life cycle [of a test] match up a little better with the materials that are being used?"
"The original inspiration was driven more from the sustainability side, but then we also realized that no one had innovated the pregnancy test in the form aspect for more than 30 years," Edwards says.
Simpson says that about a year ago, the Lia team began communicating with the FDA in order to make sure that they could show that the Lia had the same performance as other standard tests. They then began production on the product in April 2016, making about 6,000-7,000 of them for testing.
And now, while celebrating years of their hard work, the duo is also turning the attention on women around the world by donating a portion of all Lia pregnancy test proceeds to women’s health education in the U.S. and around the world. Additionally, if you pledge $10 Lia will donate a pregnancy test to a women's health organization of your choice.
"We really believe in supporting women on a variety of levels, which is why we kind of stuck out doing this, to prove that women can be engineers and scientists, and inventors, and to make sure that is represented," Edwards says.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
Read these stories next: