Pri­va­tiz­ing Preg­nancy

Lia flush­able home preg­nancy test Lia Di­ag­nos­tics

Fast Company - - World-Changing Ideas - —BS

Nearly 2 mil­lion pounds of used home preg­nancy tests wind up in landfills each year. The plas­tic di­ag­nos­tic tools “are only used for a few min­utes, but they are made out of things that are not sus­tain­able,” says Lia cofounder and CEO Bethany Ed­wards. “We be­lieve that ma­te­ri­als should match up with prod­uct life cy­cles.” Lia, the world’s first flush­able preg­nancy test, stems from a grad school project that Ed­wards and two class­mates em­barked on at the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia’s in­te­grated prod­uct de­sign pro­gram. “No­body had in­no­vated on the form fac­tor of the preg­nancy test in over 30 years,” she says. The de­vice uses the same amount of ma­te­rial as six squares of three-ply toi­let pa­per and con­tains no glue. Its protein-, plant-, and min­er­al­based fibers biode­grade whether flushed or com­posted, so in ad­di­tion to en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits, they of­fer a rev­o­lu­tion­ary new mea­sure of pri­vacy. “Preg­nancy is per­sonal,” says Ed­wards. “We give women con­trol in a dis­creet, san­i­tary, and bet­ter-for-theen­vi­ron­ment way.” Lia re­ceived FDA ap­proval in De­cem­ber and is cur­rently on track to hit stores and Ama­zon this sum­mer, priced be­tween $13 and $15 for a pack of two. (The prod­uct of­fers the same 99% ac­cu­racy rate as ex­ist­ing home tests.) Next, the com­pany plans to ex­pand into ad­di­tional home di­ag­nos­tic tests, for ovu­la­tion and uri­nary tract in­fec­tions.

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