First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test


Sep 26, 2001


The Bottom Line It's not worth spending more money for a test that claims to be able to detect hCG four days earlier- but still detects the same amount as some cheaper brands.

Carter Wallace is the company that makes the First Response and Answer brands of pregnancy tests. If you search for the test that I'm reviewing, it comes up, but it's a dead link. I'm placing this here, and if Epinions fixes the link, I'll have them move it.

Remember the first time that you bought a package of tampons (or condoms)? Spending the hour before going to the store, searching for something of your sister's to wear? Possibly breaking out the trenchcoat and fedora that you used for Halloween two year before, when trick or treating was still 'cool'? Maybe even going so far as to borrow someone else's car, so that people wouldn't recognize you as you drove across town, to the store that you've never even set foot in before? Thought that you had put those days behind you, haven't you?

For some of us, no. There's one more thing listed on the Life's Embarassing Necessities List- a home pregnancy test. While this isn't a necessity for all people, there are numerous reasons that you may encounter which would cause you to purchase a home pregnancy test (HPT).

[] You're not married, still living with your parents, when suddenly, you realize that you are a few days late.
[] You're married, but want to surprise your significant other with the happy (or not so happy) news.
[] You're married, and are trying to conceive, and don't want to waste the money on numerous, negative blood tests at the doctor's office.

I have personal experience with options number one and number three. I wasn't married when I became pregnant with my son, and had no desire to run to the doctor's office for a blood test, just in case my father had an appointment with the doctor shortly after I did. Really, I wanted to break the news to my parents myself. I'm pregnant now, and this one was planned. My husband and I just couldn't wait until I was late enough (according to my doctor) for a blood test. So both times, it was off to Wal-mart I went.

How Do They Work?
HPT's measure the level of HCG, a hormone produced in pregnancy, in a woman's urine. These tests are not full proof, and will not work if there isn't enough HCG present at the time of the test. Most tests say to wait until you have missed your period before testing, while there is one on the market that says that it is accurate up to four days before the missed period.

HPTs these days are a little easier to use than HPTs of the past. When I was in high school, we played with one to see how it worked. Trust me- peeing on a stick is soooo much easier than peeing into a cup, and then trying to read the results in a test tube. You can still pee into a cup, if you choose. There is even a test on the market that requires you to pee into a cup, but it's easier to read than the ones we played with in school. It operates the same way as the sticks- but I'm not here to review that. No, I'm going to review the First Response Early Result Home Pregnancy Test.

Test Four Days Sooner
Located in my Wal-mart pharmacy department, the First Response test costs about $15 for one- that's right, ONE- test. Right now, they have a special- buy one, get another test free (it's included in the box). This lasts as long as supplies last, so I wouldn't count on it right now. It's very easy to use- just rip open the plastic package, remove the test, remove the lid over the test strip, and hold it in your urine stream for five to ten seconds. Replace the cap, and leave the test lying flat, answer side up, on the counter. The test takes three to five minutes to complete.

The biggest claim that this test makes is that you can test four days before your missed period. You would assume that this test is one of the most sensitive tests on the market. After doing some research, I have come to the conclusion maybe First Response should leave well enough along.

How To Read The Test
Very simple- and it works the same way as most other tests. To paraphrase Kelly Bundy, one line means that you can still take gym class. In other words- one line means that you are not pregnant, two lines means that you are pregnant. The test strip is completely exposed on one end, so you can be holding it upside down when you use the test. It comes with a cap, which makes is slightly less messy when setting it on the counter, but you may still need to wipe it down once the cap is on.

It takes three minutes to get a reading, although you might be able to tell sooner. Tests can be defective, so it is always best to wait a couple days and try another test- either with a negative or a positive result. You may also want to try a different brand, because some brands show more false positives and false negatives than others.

Faint Lines- Positive, Negative, Or Just Too Soon To Tell?
I have taken roughly five or six different pregnancy tests since July of 1999, when I bought my first one. I have used two or three different brands, from Wal-mart's Equate brand, to a generic drug store brand, to First Response Early Result. The sad thing, is that I was happier with the cheaper Equate brand.

Each test claims to detect a certain level of HCG. The lower the level detected, the best the test is supposed to be. This is why First Response can claim that the early result test detects pregnancy four days before a missed period. This test claims to detect 25 mIU. This is the same as claimed by the Equate brand, the CVS brand, Confirm, and others. The regular First Response test, in comparison, detects 100 mIU.

To get an idea of where hCG levels stand, here are some averages for weeks following the last menstrual period (LMP).

[] 3 weeks from LMP- hCG Average Levels: 5-50
[] 4 weeks from LMP- hCG Average Levels: 4-426
[] 5 weeks from LMP- hCG Average Levels: 19- 7340

When I first used this test, I was three weeks from my LMP, and only had two days to go before I was late. The result? A faint positive. The line was barely there, but it was there. On no other test had I ever come across a faint positive result. I waited a couple days, and tested again, using the second test in the box. Again, same result. This might happen if you have ovulated late, but I had used ovulation predictor tests and temperature charts, and know that I ovulated on time this month. So why was I getting the barely there, faint line? I tried another brand, another test, and got a better result- a very strong positive. So I am led to believe that even though this test claims to be an early predictor, that it is no better than some of the other brands on the market. For instance, the Equate brand is cheaper than this test, and claims to detect the same amount- and I haven't had a problem with faint lines in the past with this one.

Customer Service
Yes, we even had the chance to experience First Response's customer service! My husband, being the typical father to be, called the company and asked them what a faint positive line meant. The woman asked him some basic questions, such as when my LMP was, and whether I was late or not, and when I had tested. She told my husband to just wait a few days and test again, but that any type of positive is a positive. She was very helpful and understanding- I'm sure that she's heard this a thousand times. Which leads me to wonder how fool proof this test is.

Final Thoughts
Would I purchase this test again? Probably not, now that I know that there are other cheaper brands that are just as good, or at least make the same claims. Should you purchase this test because it claims to be able to test for pregnancy four days earlier? No- because there are tests out there that don't make that claim, that do detect the same levels are this test. Just do your research before shopping, and things will be all right.

Oh, and don't forget to look for that trenchcoat and fedora.

First Responses Website: http://www.1stresponse.com/

*Information used in this review can be found on these sites: http://www.fertilityplus.org/faq/hpt.html and http://www.inciid.org/betas.html

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