Accessible Pregnancy Test For People Who Experience Sight Loss

Taking a pregnancy test is a defining moment for every woman and should be a very private affair. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for visually impaired women. They do not only require someone to read their test results, but a third party becomes the first person to know their results. A UK-based organization recently started a campaign to stop this lack of inclusivity and respect for privacy by developing a pregnancy test prototype meant for visually impaired women. If privacy is one of your top priorities you can get a pregnancy test done here. Below, we explore the possibility of an inclusive pregnancy test kit for the visually impaired and the effort being made to make this dream come true.

The Privacy Problem

Under most circumstances, a visually impaired woman has to find someone to read the results on their behalf. This could either be a spouse or a close family member. This takes away their privacy in various ways. First, the woman may have wanted to keep her sex life private. The fact that someone is checking pregnancy test results on their behalf means their sex life is no longer private. Secondly, the woman may not be happy about the pregnancy test results and may not want to keep the baby. However, the fact that someone else is confirming the pregnancy makes it difficult for them to make a choice since the pregnancy status is in the public domain. Those may affect their choice going forth and they may opt to keep the child just because their status is known. For visually impaired women looking forward to the pregnancy, it would be great if they learn about the pregnancy results first. Under current circumstances, a third party learns first about their pregnancy denying them the privilege of being the first to know.

The Royal National Institute Of Blind People (RNIB) Campaign

RNIB started a campaign called ‘Design For Everyone’ to ensure that visually impaired women are included when manufacturers develop pregnancy test kits. The current kits require one to look at the results which include a change of color or two visible lines. Unfortunately, a visually impaired person may not be able to see these results. If anything, even women with no issues with eyesight at times struggle to read the results. The organization aimed to point out the issue with inclusivity, accessibility, and privacy, and dignity.

The organization supports partially sighted people and the blind to ensure equal access and participation. In this particular campaign, they developed a prototype and have urged companies to come up with a pregnancy testing kit or device that enables the visually impaired to access their pregnancy results in privacy.

Are There Pregnancy Tests For Visually Impaired Women?

Currently, there are no pregnancy tests meant for partially sighted and blind women. RNIB started the campaign to have the public talking and challenge companies to develop a solution. RNIB worked with product designer Josh Wasserman to develop the prototype designed so that the women in question could tell their pregnancy results by touching the device.

The prototype was also to prove it’s possible to have an alternative to the current pregnancy test kit which is not inclusive. Though the product did not go past the prototype stage, the creators have challenged manufacturers to come up with a design that makes accessibility and privacy possible.

Key Issues From The Campaign

The institute worked with visually impaired women and these were the issues raised as part of the campaign aimed at developing a  special kit. One of the fundamental priorities is being the first to know one’s pregnancy results. The second issue was that if a new product is developed, touch is an essential part since it’s a key way in which a visually impaired woman interacts with objects.

How Does The Test / Prototype Work?

The successful prototype created by Wasserman uses silicon bumps on the top and tactile bumps on the underside. The device has a pee strip which once activated powers a small motor that raises several bumps on the top part in case the user is pregnant. If the test is negative, the tactile bumps on the bottom get activated, which confirms the test is working. The prototype has highly contrasted purple and white colors toTo enable partially sighted women to use the test correctly.