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Why, when, and how did they use rabbits for pregnancy tests?

Mattaboy!

My wife and I found out recently that she is pregnant, which brought to mind that old phrase, "The rabbit done died." This got me thinking about that wacky scientific/medical practice of using rabbits as a pregnancy test, and now I need some answers. What exactly did they do to the rabbit? Who came up with this? When? How? Why rabbits? Help me out, Matt.

-- P, the net

He done died, eh. Well, I done found out what killed him. Her, actually. Wacky or not, the rabbit test was the first reliable medical pregnancy test, aside from waiting nine months. It was developed by a researcher in physiology at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1930s. Urine from a woman who suspected she was pregnant was injected into a female rabbit. Pregnant-lady urine contains a lot of chorionic gonadotrophin. If the woman was pregnant, the hormone jolt would cause the rabbit's ovaries to enlarge and develop characteristic surface changes. Unfortunately, the only way to read the test results was to open up bunny and look around. So it wasn't so much that the rabbit done died; more like the rabbit was done in. Hold on a moment while I envision a shelf full of 1950s-era home pregnancy tests. Lots of wiggling noses and a big knife.

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Mattaboy!

My wife and I found out recently that she is pregnant, which brought to mind that old phrase, "The rabbit done died." This got me thinking about that wacky scientific/medical practice of using rabbits as a pregnancy test, and now I need some answers. What exactly did they do to the rabbit? Who came up with this? When? How? Why rabbits? Help me out, Matt.

-- P, the net

He done died, eh. Well, I done found out what killed him. Her, actually. Wacky or not, the rabbit test was the first reliable medical pregnancy test, aside from waiting nine months. It was developed by a researcher in physiology at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1930s. Urine from a woman who suspected she was pregnant was injected into a female rabbit. Pregnant-lady urine contains a lot of chorionic gonadotrophin. If the woman was pregnant, the hormone jolt would cause the rabbit's ovaries to enlarge and develop characteristic surface changes. Unfortunately, the only way to read the test results was to open up bunny and look around. So it wasn't so much that the rabbit done died; more like the rabbit was done in. Hold on a moment while I envision a shelf full of 1950s-era home pregnancy tests. Lots of wiggling noses and a big knife.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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