When pregnancy tests were toads: the Xenopus test in the early NHS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


As a young woman in the 1950s, Audrey Peattie injected urine into toads every day. She worked as a technician at an NHS pregnancy testing laboratory in Watford (17 miles from central London). The toads were Xenopus laevis, originating in South Africa, but the urine samples with which they were injected came from
women around Britain. NHS doctors posted their patients' urine samples to Audrey for the diagnosis of pregnancy. Pregnancy tests really were reliant on toads in the era of modern science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-3
Number of pages2
JournalWellcome History
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2013


  • xenopus laevis
  • xenopus tests
  • pregnancy testing
  • medical history

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