Pregnancy test kits we are currently accustomed to can, of course, tell if a woman is pregnant. But a new product by UK-based MAP Diagnostics will be capable of not only detecting pregnancy but also the possibility of miscarriage and twins.
The new pregnancy test kit reportedly uses an algorithm that can analyze the amount of proteins present in a woman's urine. Based on the data, it can then diagnose the "chances of successful birth, miscarriage, or pre-eclampsia, as well as whether a woman is pregnant with twins," New Scientist reported.
The MAP Diagnostics kit is derived from IVF treatment, which includes technologies that can screen embryos and identify abnormal chromosome numbers as well as genetic mutations – factors that lead to miscarriages. IVF treatment, however, is invasive whereas the new pregnancy test kit is not, making it more appealing and convenient. The device is also able to analyze proteins released by embryos through the mother's urine.
MAP Diagnostics is still fine-tuning the algorithm with the company analyzing "around 10,000 samples to improve detection of chromosomal abnormalities that cause Down's syndrome, for example, before developing a home-testing kit," according to the New Scientist report.
There is an imperative for development because accuracy is critical for the product that would be eventually released in the market, according to Zev Williams from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York. Indeed, a test that reveal possible miscarriage could cause stress and even a decision to abort. Therefore, if the test is not accurate it can cause irreparable damage to pregnant women and families. This, however, does not diminish the new technology's impact on the way early pregnancy is detected.