The Rabbit Test


From “Squirrels and Other Fur-bearers” by John Burroughs, 1909 Public domain

After the discovery of hormones in the early 20th century, new methods of pregnancy testing were developed. Some of these involved animal use, but how did the rabbit test work, and when did it get replaced?

Holly's Research:

  • Blakemore, Erin. “This is What the First Home Pregnancy Test Looked Like. Smithsonian. June 2, 2015. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/what-first-home-pregnancy-test-looked-180955478/#LzMxBXwHJawQwSCU.99
  • Cole, Laurence A. “Biological functions of hCG and hCG-related molecules”Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E vol. 8 102. 24 Aug. 2010, doi:10.1186/1477-7827-8-102. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2936313/
  • Cole, Laurence A. “New discoveries on the biology and detection of human chorionic gonadotropin” Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E vol. 7 8. 26 Jan. 2009, doi:10.1186/1477-7827-7-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2649930/
  • “Dr. Maxwell E. Lapham, 83; Aided in ‘Rabbit Test’ Work.” New York Times. Sept. 26, 1983. https://www.nytimes.com/1983/09/26/obituaries/dr-maxwell-e-lapham-83-aided-in-rabbit-test-work.html
  • Evans, H M and M E Simpson. “ASCHHEIM-ZONDEK TEST FOR PREGNANCY-ITS PRESENT STATUS” California and western medicine vol. 32,3 (1930): 145-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1657362/?page=1
  • Friedman, Maurice H., Ph.D. and Maxwell E. Lapham, M.D “A Simple, Rapid Procedure for the Laboratory Diagnosis of Early Pregnancies.” American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology , Volume 21 , Issue 3 , 405 – 410. https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(16)42174-5/fulltext
  • Gurdon, John B. and Nick Hopwood. “The introduction of Xenopus laevis into developmental biology: of empire, pregnancy testing and ribosomal genes.” International Journal of Developmental Biology. 44: 43 - 50 (2000). http://www.ijdb.ehu.es/web/paper.php?doi=10761846
  • Howe, Marvine. “Dr. Maurice Friedman, 87, Dies; Created ‘Rabbit’ Pregnancy Test.” The New York Times. March 10, 1991. https://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/10/obituaries/dr-maurice-friedman-87-dies-created-rabbit-pregnancy-test.html
  • Kean, Sam. “The Birds, the Bees, and the Froggies.” Science History Institute. Summer 2017. https://www.sciencehistory.org/distillations/magazine/the-birds-the-bees-and-the-froggies
  • Nuwer, Rachel. “Doctors Used to Use Live African Frogs As Pregnancy Tests.” Smithsonian. May 16, 2013. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/doctors-used-to-use-live-african-frogs-as-pregnancy-tests-64279275/#uXGKzAESO0eqkrKw.99
  • Olszynko-Gryn, Jesse. “The demand for pregnancy testing: The Aschheim–Zondek reaction, diagnostic versatility, and laboratory services in 1930s Britain.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Volume 47, Part B, September 2014, Pages 233-247. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369848613001763#s0020
  • Room, Cari. “Before There Were Home Pregnancy Tests.” The Atlantic. June 17, 2015. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/history-home-pregnancy-test/396077/
  • Tata, Jamshed R. “One hundred years of hormones” EMBO reports vol. 6,6 (2005): 490-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1369102/#b30

Topics in this Podcast: U.S. history, European history, Animals, 20th century