Data lacking for many home fertility tests: study

Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:07pm EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Many at-home kits used to predict a woman's fertility, a man's sperm viability or a baby's gender lack solid data to confirm their accuracy, according to a new review of pregnancy and fertility tests.

A trio of researchers from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore looked at dozens of products across a range of applications, including pregnancy tests, genetic screens and various measurements used to determine when a woman is ovulating.

"A lot of them are good and serve a useful purpose, but some are not, and may even have claims that are misleading to patients," said Paul Brezina, one of the study authors, whose results were published in "Fertility and Sterility."

His team analyzed medical literature, searched online, and spoke with manufacturers to assess the quality of evidence available for each product.

Common, over-the-counter pregnancy tests that measure hormone levels in urine are some of the more reliable products available, they said.

"Pregnancy tests have been subjected to the scrutiny of scientific investigation and have publicly mandated control measures aimed at ensuring their accuracy," they wrote.

The same is true for fertility monitors that use hormone concentrations to predict when a woman is ovulating.

But a variety of other consumer products used to predict ovulation, such as tests that analyze saliva or vaginal secretions, failed to have reliable, independent studies confirming their accuracy.

The same issues exist for products to identify a baby's sex.   Continued...