An Open Letter To Evaporation Lines…

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Dear evaporation lines,

I won’t beat around the bush. You are soul destroying. You are a dream stealer!

All you ever hear, when TTC (trying to conceive) is that ‘a line is a line’. Something is there, SOMETHING has come up – it could be a squinter, or it could be a bold line (I’m looking at YOU, Clearblue!). I get excited, I feel my heart fill with hope and my stomach fill with butterflies at the anticipation of potential baby number two. I stroke my lower tummy, imagining the new life blossoming within my uterus. Boy? Girl? Names… nursery ideas… future plans. I allow myself to feel excited.

To confirm, another home test is taken, or bloods get done very soon after the appearance of the gorgeous second line. Always good to be sure, get it on record and book in with the midwife.

HCG… zero.

No second line.

‘Ah, evaporation lines!’ the GP sighs, in sympathy and evident frustration; he’s seen it all before. ‘They can happen before the allotted time, and can leech dye from the test, they aren’t always grey and thin, that’s a common misconception. I’m so sorry, maybe next month will be your month.’ The bloods were taken within enough time to know if it was actually a chemical pregnancy – it wasn’t, each time this has happened.

The wine I’ve stashed away for a day 9 months in the future comes back out of the back of the dusty cupboard, plonked in the fridge and drank that night as a consolation prize – if any such thing exists secondary to the pitter patter of much wanted tiny feet.

‘TTC’ groups on Facebook, full of women in the same boat, buoy me with hope and tips. ‘Always use pink dye!’ they say, as pink dye apparently doesn’t harbour the awful tendency to cast nasty evaporation lines, or for the dye to run causing confusing lines, or indentation lines (when the dye settles into the indentation of the hormone strip, again causing confusion. ‘First Response, always!’

Evaporation lines, you rub the salt in the wound, especially for ladies like me who have reasons that may mean it’s a little harder to conceive. You may as well show up on the strip forming the words ‘ha ha ha’ rather than as a line! You make women distrust tests and sceptical of true positives, you fool hopeful women to dream and love the ‘baby’ they think is growing in their empty womb, and ultimately you break hearts.

The day that home pregnancy test manufacturers manage to figure out how to prevent evaporation lines entirely will be a day for the history books and there will be street parties – I’m sure fellow TTC women will agree.

From a fraught, fed up woman who wants another baby.


I’m not alone. Thousands upon thousands of women, desperate to be pregnant, have been fooled by evaporation/dye run/indentation lines. All this money, wasted on tests that have been taken following the instructions but still given confusing and inaccurate results.

I can’t say with evidenced certainty if pink dye is truly more reliable – the anecdote seems too popular to not have some basis of truth behind it but who knows – but I do know that evaporation lines break hearts. They can absolutely happen within the allotted time on the instructions of the test, but lots of women get them when reading the test later than they should (therefore invalid). The best way to minimise your chances of a confusing result (not fail safe as evap lines can still occur but less likely) is to ensure you follow the instructions on the test; don’t expose to too much urine, don’t read after the allotted time, avoid exposing to heat or sunlight as this can encourage evaporation.

To everyone who has had an evaporation line give them false hope, you’re not alone, and I hope you get a true positive soon!

Love from Katie. Xx

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