Pregnancy testing over the counter, in activism, and at home: Britain, c.1970 2015. (360G-Wellcome-106553_Z_14_Z)
In 1971, Chefaro, a subsidiary of the Dutch firm Organon, launched Predictor, Britain's first HPT. This project will recover the history of HPTs from c.1970 to the present day, when their widespread visibility and availability is taken for granted. It will be divided into four parts. Part One examines how Predictor, a laboratory tool repackaged, but not redesigned, for domestic use, was produced and marketed, received by consumer watchdog organisations, and appropriated by women's liberation gro ups. Part Two examines the public debate over Schering's Primodos, a controversial pregnancy test drug that was taken off the market in 1978 amidst fears of a repeat of the Thalidomide tragedy. Part Three investigates how not only technological innovation and slick marketing, but also NHS cutbacks and the rise of IVF contributed to the runaway commercial success of Clearblue, launched by Unipath, a subsidiary of the multinational Unilever, in 1985-88. Part Four recovers the mainstreaming and aes theticization of pregnancy testing in fiction, cinema, television, comics, artworks, and new media to reexamine assumptions about the textual and visual politics of reproduction, currently strongly identified with highly charged images of the late-term human fetus and 'baby bump'.
£138,230 12 Jan 2015