Do Pregnancy Tests Expire – Why, When and How Accurate

5 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Pregnancy Test Expire

Do you have a pregnancy kit past expiration date and wondering whether it is good enough to use? Do pregnancy tests really expire? Well, expiration dates indicate the period during which the test remains accurate and reliable. Using a test past its expiration date may result in inaccurate or unreliable results. Pregnancy tests typically rely on detecting the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine, which your body starts producing post-implantation.

To ensure the most accurate results, it’s best to use a pregnancy test before its expiration date. If you are concerned about a possible pregnancy and you have an expired test on hand, bin it and use a new kit for your test. You can also seek the advice of a healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.

In This Article

Video of Do Pregnancy Test Kits Come With An Expiration Date?

Do Pregnancy Tests Expire?

Yes, pregnancy tests do have expiration dates. They have 99% accurate results if used before the expiration date. You must use these tests and the expiration date within the date given by the manufacturer. This date is an indication of the time within which the test remains accurate and reliable.

The expiration date is also an indication of the stability of the test components, including the antibodies or enzymes that help detect the pregnancy hormone hCG . Over time, these components can degrade, which can affect the sensitivity and accuracy of the test. As a result, using a pregnancy test beyond its expiration date can lead to unreliable results, including false negatives or false positives.

It’s important to follow the instructions provided with the pregnancy test, including paying attention to the expiration date. If you’re unsure about the reliability of an expired pregnancy test or if you have concerns about a possible pregnancy, you must use a new, unexpired test.

Why Do Pregnancy Tests Expire?

Why Pregnancy Tests Expire

Yes, pregnancy tests do expire and the expiry date is based on many factors.

1. Accuracy and Reliability

The chemicals that help detect the presence of hCG stop working after a certain period which will render the test non-functional. This means that testing with an expired kit may yield false positive or false negative results. 

2. Quality Assurance

Manufacturers establish expiration dates as part of their quality control process. They conduct extensive testing to determine the shelf life of the product and ensure that it performs reliably within that period. The expiration date helps ensure that consumers are using a product that meets the manufacturer’s quality standards.

3. Regulatory Requirements

Regulatory authorities, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), often require expiration dates to be included on medical devices, including pregnancy tests. This is to ensure that consumers have access to accurate and reliable products and to provide clear guidelines for their usage.

It’s important to note that pregnancy tests are sensitive medical devices, and using them beyond their expiration dates can compromise their accuracy. To obtain the most reliable results, always use a pregnancy test before its expiration date and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

When Does a Pregnancy Test Expire?

Pregnancy Test Expire

The expiration date of a pregnancy test can vary depending on the manufacturer and the specific product. Typically, pregnancy tests have an expiration date on the packaging or the test itself. Tests hold good between 1 to 3 years from the date of manufacture and may expire after that.

It’s important to check the packaging or the test itself for the expiration date information. Some pregnancy tests may also have a “use by” date or a “discard after” date instead of an explicit expiration date. You have to use the tests within these dates.

How Often Are Expired Pregnancy Tests Wrong?

The accuracy of an expired pregnancy test cannot be guaranteed. The expiration date is guideline accuracy and reliability. Using a pregnancy test beyond its expiration date can result in decreased accuracy and reliability.

As a pregnancy test ages and approaches or surpasses its expiration date, the test components become less effective and lead to incorrect results.

Possible Outcomes When Using an Expired Pregnancy Test

Expired Pregnancy Test

When you use an expired pregnancy test, there are a few potential outcomes that you may experience. Here are some possible scenarios:

1. Accurate Positive Result

In some cases, an expired pregnancy test may still provide an accurate positive result if there is a high level of hCG hormone in the urine sample. However, it’s important to remember that false positives can also occur with expired tests, so it’s advisable to confirm the result with a new, unexpired test or consult a healthcare professional.

2. False Negative Result

Using an expired pregnancy test increases the risk of obtaining a false negative result. This means that the test may incorrectly indicate that you are not pregnant when you are. This can occur if the test’s sensitivity has been compromised due to degradation of the test components.

3. Invalid or Unclear Result

An expired pregnancy test may yield an invalid or unclear result, such as no visible lines or ambiguous lines that are difficult to interpret. This can happen if the chemicals that help check for pregnancy deteriorate and are no longer functioning properly.

It’s worth noting that the specific outcomes can vary depending on the individual test and how long it has expired. To obtain the most reliable results, it’s generally recommended to use a pregnancy test before its expiration date and to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. If you have any doubts or concerns, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional for further guidance.

It is never wise to use anything after expiration dates and the same applies to pregnancy tests. Tests within the dates are reliable and accurate and provide the right results. So, the next time you find an old pregnancy test lying around, bin it and buy a new test instead. These tests do not cost much and are easily available at pharmacies.


1. Can Old Pregnancy Tests Give False Positives?

Yes, it is possible for old pregnancy tests to give false positive results. The chemicals on pregnancy test kit work effectively for only a couple of years. Beyond this period, post the use by or expiry date, due to excessive exposure to heat or moisture during storage or due to incorrect reaction between the urine sample and the chemical. Remember the chemical is no longer working and will yield incorrect results.

2. Can Negative Pregnancy Test Turn Positive?

Yes, a negative result can turn positive when it sits for too long after testing. You must read the test 3 minutes after testing. Post this, an evaporation line will form on the test kit which will mimic a faint positive line. In some cases, a negative test can turn positive if you are testing too early in your cycle and there is not enough pregnancy hormone in your urine sample. But this is rare.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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