A false positive on a pregnancy test really does happen. I personally experienced this and got one of the biggest scares of my life.

Those who follow my writings will know that I have three children. After the birth of my youngest daughter I had tubal ligation – also known as getting my tubes tied. This is when the fallopian tubes are cut and closed off to prevent the woman from falling pregnant again. I chose to get sterilized due to problems with hypertension and the risk of getting preeclampsia if I had another baby.

Can I fall pregnant after having my tubes tied?

Women who have undergone this procedure still have their regular menstrual cycle. So when I experienced a long delay of about 60 days, I decided to take a pregnancy test just in case. I wasn’t experiencing any of the usual symptoms of pregnancy and I knew it was impossible since I was sterilized. However, I thought I would check just to be sure.

I called my sister and asked her to buy a test from the pharmacy for me. She arrived not with the test I had asked for but one that the pharmacist had recommended. I did the usual procedure with the test and, to my surprise, the result was positive! I couldn’t believe it.

Now, I’ve been pregnant several times and know quite a bit about the subject. I did not trust this brand of test and decided to try again with a brand that I knew well and definitely trusted. This time round, the result was negative. Two days later, my menstrual bleeding started with a normal flow and nothing to indicate that I had miscarried. The positive result I’d got was definitely false.

What causes a false positive?

Without a doubt it was something wrong with the test itself. It was either a manufacturing error or sub-standard materials used to make it. This is why it is essential to research the test you want to use and see if there are any bad reviews for the brand online. It’s very simple to find this information on the Internet.

Readers’ questions:

Can pregnancy tests from the pharmacy really get it wrong?

Absolutely, yes they can. You regularly hear about false negative tests that dash the hopes of women who want to be mothers. I’ve experienced this myself on more than one occasion. You’ve also just read about my experience with a false positive. These are far less common, and are a result of a bad product.

Which brand should I use?

You might be tempted to go for the most expensive option you can find, thinking that it has to be the best. However, this isn’t always true. The test that gave me a false positive was not a cheap one. It was also a brand that I didn’t know, which is why I chose to try again with a brand that I did know and trust.

So which test should you use? There are several very good options on the market, including PregTest, Confirm, Check Out, Bioeasy and Maxtest. If you can’t find any of these in your pharmacy, go for a beta hCG test. You can also get the names of the available tests and do some research online before you buy one.

What should I do after getting a false positive?

This is quite a serious problem for a pregnancy test brand. Be sure to document everything as best you can – take note of the timings, take photos of the stick and write a thorough letter of your experience. Once you have this all compiled, send it to the manufacturer. If you do not receive an adequate response from the company, post a reviews of the product on suitable websites to warn other women.