Local couple frustrated after unknowingly using expired ovulation kit, spending nearly $1,000 on sperm

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DENVER — A local couple looking to expand their family is upset following a failed attempt they blame on an expired test kit.

The couple, who doesn’t want to be identified, purchased a Clearblue ovulation test kit from King Soopers and cryogenic semen from the Seattle Sperm Bank. However, test after test from the ovulation kit never produced the smiley face they were hoping for that would indicate the time was right to try to get pregnant.

Finally, the couple called the manufacturer of the test kit. They were asked to check the numbers on the bottom of the box. When they did, they discovered the ovulation kit had expired in February 2018. They purchased the kit in November 2019.

The Problem Solvers asked well-known fertility Dr. William Schoolcraft if that could be a problem.

Schoolcraft explained what the kits are designed to detect.

“They’re designed to pick up a hormone called LH. LH is actually made in the brain, in the pituitary,” he said.

Schoolcraft tells the Problem Solvers that the anti-bodies designed to detect the LH degrade over time.

“Kits that are based on anti-body technology do expire and if they expire, the manufacturer tells us the anti-body may not be as robust at picking up the LH,” he said.

In a statement to the Problem Solvers, the manufacturer of the Clearblue test agrees, saying “Ovulation tests contain anti-bodies, which are biological reagents and these can degrade with time,” adding, “If a test is used after the expiration date the result should not be relied upon.”

The $40 test kit was one thing but the couple spent nearly $1,000 on a sperm donation selected from hundreds of choices from the Seattle Sperm Bank.

King Soopers refunded the money for the expired test kit but sent the couple’s claim for the $1,000 sperm donation to its insurance company, Sedgwick. The insurance company denied the claim, saying “there is negligence on both parties.”

This is where the Problem Solvers come in. After contacting King Soopers about the situation, things started to change. The company sent us a statement saying it understands “at the heart of this is an emotional and sensitive situation” and it is “working with the customer to make it right.”

Wednesday night, the Problem Solvers are happy to report the insurance company did make it right. The terms of the settlement are confidential but the couple tells the Problem Solvers it’s enough to try to expand their family once again.

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