More than two dozen women have reported to Business Insider South Africa that they have been misled by false-positive pregnancy tests that poisoned relationships, caused emotional devastation – and led to what one thinks was unnecessary surgery.
Clicks on Friday withdrew its own-brand Digital Pregnancy Test from shelves after Business Insider South Africa showed the test will give a “Pregnant” reading if exposed to ordinary tap water.
Clicks said it had not had previous reports of faulty test units.
But using an online form, women told stories of heartbreak following “pregnant” results from Clicks digital pregnancy tests that they believe were wrong.
Business Insider can not independently verify these accounts. In ordinary circumstances – where tests devices are reliable – research suggests that what women perceive as false-positive pregnancy tests are, in fact, typically early-term miscarriages.
The majority of the women who provided details of their experiences asked not to be identified. However, two women provided photographs of what are clearly Clicks digital test units reading “Pregnant”.
Most of the respondents said their test results had done damage, sometimes lasting damage, to relationships.
“It caused massive fights with my SO [significant other] and family as we don't want kids right now,” said one.
“My partner and I almost broke up because he thought the child would not be his because we always used protection,” said another.
Another woman said she “didn’t have answers” when her boyfriend kept asking what had happened to her supposed pregnancy, and “there was no longer trust”.
Two different women struggling with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can make it difficult to fall pregnant, described initial elation, then complete devastation. One said that, believing she had suffered a miscarriage, she had a D&C (dilation and curettage) procedure that she now believes had been unnecessary.
“My whole life has been an emotional spiral from then onwards,” she said.
One woman had been trying for six years to fall pregnant, another for eight years. But some had not meant to fall pregnant at all, and told of similar turmoil and shock as a result of tests they they now believe were wrong from the outset.
Only one woman said her test result had been no big deal, from which she rapidly recovered. But more typical was one who said she had “lost her mind”, and another who summed up her experience in just one word: “devastated”.
Spot checks on Saturday morning suggested that Clicks had removed all the possibly affected tests from shelves. The chain has not said how it will investigate the possible failures of the devices, whether it will provide any feedback on that investigation, or just what approach it was taking with its supplier.
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