Vancouver native Jackie Rihand got the idea for OVRYA direct-consumer company aiming to make pregnancy and ovulation tests more affordable and sustainable from personal experience. Rihand has a blood clotting disorder that prevents her from taking hormonal birth control and will often find herself buying pregnancy tests at pharmacies where the markup was high and the tests had large single-use plastic handles. “We deserve a better option,” says Rihand of People, who needs tests.
While she was on a keto diet, her lightbulb moment occurred, using a small test strip to identify ketosis. “I thought, they should be like this for pregnancy tests,” says Rihand, who discovered strip pregnancy tests and is often used in doctors’ offices and hospitals. “I realized that there was a need to build a trustworthy brand with really high-quality products in a less tasteless, more convenient format where people can discreetly order them from their home.”
Enter OVRY. Its pregnancy tests are 109 times smaller and use 99 percent less single-use plastic than any midstudest test found at a drugstore. A small box of four OVRY pregnancy tests lasts for $ 18 and a large box of 18 pregnancy tests is $ 36.
Rihand says that consumers are insecure when it comes to buying pregnancy tests. “I went there. You go to the store and see cheaper versions and more expensive versions. [of the pregnancy tests available] And just think of yourself, ‘I don’t care if it’s an extra $ 7 I want to work with,’ but you don’t have the information that these tests can all have the same accuracy. “
It is a common misconception, says Rihand, that the more expensive the test, the better. “By and large, that’s not true,” she explains. “Pregnancy tests are highly regulated and must meet high standards or they will not have approval to sell.”
Less expensive tests available at some cheaper stores may be sold closer to their expiry date. This does not necessarily make them less effective, but until you are able to hand the test over to others. (OVRY tests, which are manufactured in Canada and approved by Health Canada, have a shelf life of 24 months from the date of manufacture, which is clearly marked on the packaging.)
Unlike midstream pregnancy tests, strip pregnancy tests have to be submerged in urine. When used properly, they have the same accuracy as the midtest tests, Rihand says. OVRY pregnancy tests are 99.7 percent accurate and its ovulation tests are 99.2 percent accurate. The test strips are also hyper-sensitive, meaning that they are able to detect the pregnancy hormone HCG at a lower threshold, thus detecting pregnancy prior to testing that it does not offer.
Since its launch in late 2020, the range of people using OVRY has been wide, says Rihand. The biggest consumers are people trying to conceive naturally or through IVF, who are undergoing high-volume tests. “Athletes who experience irregular cycles are another group we have heard of,” says Rihand. “They don’t know if they are pregnant or training really hard.”
The OVRY is characterized by design. “We want to make sure that we’re not excluding people who don’t usually talk, but that our products are absolutely worthy,” she says. “When you normalize non-gendered language, it sets the bar and encourages other businesses to follow suit.”