Clearblue, First Response or Numark?

By Juliana Kassianos, Transformational Fertility Coach, Yoga Teacher and Founder of The School of Fertility

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Home pregnancy tests vary in:

  • How much they cost

  • How they display their results

  • How sensitive they are, so how soon they can detect the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine and what level of hCG needs to be present to show a positive result

  • How accurate they are in detecting whether you’re pregnant or not

With so many different brands out there, it can be difficult to know which one to buy. I choose three to test out: ClearblueFirst Response and Numark. Each of them was a twin pack, so contained two test sticks. Here are my thoughts on each one.

CLEARBLUE (WITH WEEKS INDICATOR)

Clearblue was the most expensive at £13.99, however, the test sticks provide a digital result. They tell you not only whether you’re pregnant or not, but also give you an indication of when you conceived, which can be useful to know if you have irregular cycles.

You take the test by placing the absorbent tip downwards in your urine stream for five seconds. I know it’s tempting, but it’s important you don’t add an extra second or two for good luck as it can invalidate the results. You then replace the cap and lay it to rest for three minutes. During this time a little hour glass symbol pops up to show the test is working. Once this symbol stops flashing, a result appears on the screen, which says: ‘Not Pregnant’, ‘Pregnant 1-2’, ‘Pregnant 2-3’ or ‘Pregnant 3+’. The numbers indicate the weeks since conception.

The sensitivity of the test is 25mIU/ml. It works out the weeks since conception by detecting the levels of hCG in your urine. It’s said to be more than 99% accurate in detecting pregnancy when used from the day you expect your period, whilst the weeks indicator is said to be 93% accurate at detecting when you conceived.

What I like about this test is that you get a straight answer. Unlike some other tests, there are no faint lines that can play tricks with your mind. You can use this test up to five days before your missed period, but the chances of getting a positive result are lower, because you might not have allowed enough time for the hCG to build up to a detectable level. Due to how pricey it is and its level of sensitivity, I would suggest waiting a few days after your missed period before taking this test.

FIRST RESPONSE (RAPID RESPONSE)

First Response cost £8.99, so mid-range price wise. You take the test by holding the stick with the absorbent tip facing downwards and results window facing away from your body, in your urine stream for five seconds only. You then place the cap back on and lay it down for 45 seconds, by which time the result should start to become visible. Two pink lines mean you’re pregnant, including if the second is faint. One pink line means you’re not pregnant.

The information leaflet doesn’t give a figure for sensitivity, it just says it’s sensitive enough for most women to detect hCG from the first day of their missed period and it's said to be 99% accurate.

This was a fairly simple test to use and read. Being able to see the results in 45 seconds and not having to wait a few minutes is definitely a bonus. I don’t like the fact it doesn’t give its sensitivity though.

NUMARK

Numark was the cheapest test at £5.99. You take the test by holding the absorbent tip in your urine stream for five seconds only, then replace the cap and lay the test stick down for two minutes until the results show. This test contains a control window, where a blue line becomes visible, then in the results window, one blue line indicates you’re not pregnant, whilst two blue lines making a cross indicate you’re pregnant. If no line appears in the control window, then the test hasn’t worked, and you’ll need to re-test using another test stick.

Like the First Response, it doesn’t give a figure for sensitivity, however, it does say you can test up to four days before your period is due and that it’s 99% accurate when used from the day your period is due.

I wasn’t too keen on this test. I read the results which were negative at the time, however, I came back to it later and there was a second faint line showing that could easily be interpreted as a positive result. It does say on the information leaflet to discard any changes to the results after 10 minutes, but I doubt many would take note of this. The line that appeared is what’s called an evaporation line, which forms as the urine dries. For this reason alone, I wouldn’t use this test stick again.

AND THE VERDICT IS...

Even though it’s more expensive, I would probably use Clearblue out of the three brands, as I like how they’ve indicted its sensitivity and how it gives a clear definitive result of ‘Pregnant’ or ‘Not Pregnant’. It is a pain having to wait three minutes, but I’d rather that then try to make out any faint lines in say the First Response or Numark tests. I wouldn't use this test before my period is due though, because of it's sensitivity (25mIU/ml).

I know that Clearblue do an early detection pregnancy test that can detect tiny amounts of hCG, with a sensitivty of 10mIU/ml, so I'd probably use this one if I really couldn't bare the wait and wanted to test early. Just to note, I’m not paid to promote their product, it’s purely my own personal preference. You must find the brand that works best for you.


Juliana Kassianos