My first response when I heard about the First Response Bluetooth pregnancy test was this: Nope. Nope, nope and nope. Of all the things in my life that need to be "connected" or "have an app," a pregnancy test ranks dead last. Taking a home pregnancy test is one of the most private rituals that a woman of childbearing age can have. It is also one of the scariest and most heart-wrenching experiences a woman can go through. And to somehow turn it into a way to piggyback on the Internet of Things trend strikes me as terribly opportunistic and even a little insensitive.
For starters, the product doesn't even seem necessary. For the most part, the Bluetooth pregnancy test works just like an ordinary one: A woman pees on a stick, and it tells her if she's pregnant. The difference here is that there's an app. The app lets you know if the stick is working and if you've provided enough urine for the test. Which, OK, fine, does seem somewhat useful, though I don't see why this requires an app -- surely this sort of information can be integrated into the stick itself.
From there, things quickly become ridiculous. The test offers a three-minute timer, where you're supposed to either select "Educate Me," "Entertain Me" or "Calm Me" options. "Educate Me" brings up fertility info, "Entertain Me" offers videos from the likes of BuzzFeed and "Calm Me" lets you enjoy serene music. The idea is that you're supposed to read, watch or listen, respectively, as you wait for your results.
And now a bit of perspective. I've used a few pregnancy tests in my life, so I know what it's like. In my experience, this is how it usually goes: You miss your period. You remember you had sex earlier that month. In your early adult years, you might be silently panicking. As a slightly older person, you might be hopeful, wondering if you're finally pregnant after years of trying. Either way, it's an extremely intense and private experience.
And if you decide you want to get a pregnancy test in person (say you need the test ASAP and can't wait for a delivery), there's the ordeal of going to a drugstore. Preferably one where you don't know any of the cashiers so they won't raise their eyebrows. Then you spend several agonizing minutes staring at the dizzying choices of pregnancy tests, wondering which one you want. Then you have to go through the indignity of requesting a store clerk to unlock the display case containing the test. Then you wander around the store to pick out a magazine and a box of chocolates so it doesn't seem weird that the test is the only thing you're buying.
After all of this, the last thing I would fucking need is a damn viral video while I'm waiting to see if my life is going to change.
Sure, the fertility information is appreciated, and meditative music is nice. But I don't need an app for any of this. In fact, it's not what I need at all. What I need is a friend, and sometimes a really good cry.
I don't need an app for this. What I need is a friend, and sometimes a really good cry.
You can also indicate in the app whether or not you want to get pregnant. If you say that you do, you'll either get a hearty congratulations if the test is positive (along with an approximate due date) or tips on how to improve your fertility chances if the test is negative. This sounds rather helpful but, again, terribly unnecessary. Regardless of the test results, your emotions would be running high. Either you're elated with a tinge of worry or you're slumped deep in despair. There is no way that an app can deal with any of that. You'd be much better off going to a doctor for advice than going by what an app tells you.
Additionally, there's no word yet on what kind of response you get if you indicate you don't want to be pregnant. I imagine that would reveal a whole other set of issues, depending on where you fall in the pro-life / pro-choice spectrum. [Ed. note: A spokesperson has told us that if this is the case, the response would be "neutral" and that it would either offer tips on pregnancy symptoms (in the case of a positive result) or on how to avoid pregnancy scares (in case of a negative one).]
My point is this: Not everything in our lives needs to be connected. Not everything needs an app. Least of all a Bluetooth pregnancy test that will apparently cost close to $20 and offer little to no benefit over an ordinary one.