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So. People buying pregnancy tests usually do it for one of two reasons:

  1. they are trying to get pregnant, or
  2. they are NOT trying to get pregnant but have some reason to think they might be, i.e. are panicking rather badly over a late period. In my experience, it takes some serious paranoia to actually get up the strength to go buy one.

Tests come two to a pack now, or three. It's hard to even find singles; you end up your knees, peering into the inner recesses of the drugstore shelves, then giving up. If you're trying to get pregnant, great. Go for the three-pack and test your chemical balance every day until the second stripe shows up. Buy a case.

But if you are not trying to get pregnant, and you start bleeding oh half an hour after your test comes out negative (stress contributes to lateness, fabulously enough), then what do you do with the second test? If it was negative but you don't start bleeding (even though pay attention people it is possible to bleed while pregnant* and the cramps are supposedly quite similar), yes, you use it the next day, just to make sure. But otherwise? These things are expensive enough not to throw out unused.

So you stick it in your top drawer and try to forget about it. You cover it with the slips you never wear and the itchy stockings. It is still in your dresser, though. It is always there. You throw it in the back of the closet, only to resdiscover it when looking for a pair of shoes a month later. You accidentally brush against the box while putting away clothes, and for an instant maybe you can't remember what it is, maybe you think it is an old condom box you never threw away. But this is only for an instant. Then you know better.

Bad juju. Bad luck. You don't want to go through that panic again: you want to get pregnant when you damn well please. So who wants it in the house, staring at you when you get dressed in the morning?

I could actually see this with women who are actively trying to get pregnant as well. What if you've been trying and trying and have your full ovulation chart done out and make sure to have as much sex as possible on the days you are supposed to be the most fertile and you still aren't getting pregnant? And you get up in the morning, every morning, and see the box staring at you from the medicine cabinet. So you lock yourself in the bathroom, take a urine sample (imagine how adept you would be at this point), immerse the test, make sure the absorbent tip is fully absorbing, put the cap on it, and set it on the edge of the sink. Then you slide down the wall and sit on the floor staring at your watch, Not Looking until the five ten twelve minutes are up, not, no. Imagine doing this every morning. And every morning it would come up blank, and you would look at the box with its second or third test still intact, and have to put it back in the medicine cabinet with the next box. Four seven ten tests lined up in their cardboard compartments, waiting for the next morning, the next, and the next.

Staring at you. You're barren, they hiss.

* The Merck Manual has this to say about bleeding during pregnancy and miscarriage:

About 20 to 30% of women bleed or have cramping at some time during the first 20 wk of pregnancy; half of these women spontaneously abort. In up to 60% of spontaneous abortions, the fetus is absent or grossly malformed, and in 25 to 60%, it has chromosomal abnormalities incompatible with life; thus spontaneous abortion in > 90% of cases may be a natural rejection of a maldeveloping fetus.

Which is about double the amount of issue you want to deal with there, as well.

You can find it here: http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section18/chapter252/252a.htm

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