Teen pregnancy rates are dropping, but there are still many teen pregnancies reported each year. According to a study in the United Kingdom, about 45% of clinical professional claim they test teen girls for pregnancy prior to surgery and/or diagnostic procedures that could be detrimental to the pregnancy. Should teen girls be routinely tested for pregnancy no matter the age or claimed sexual status?

No Parent Wants to Believe Their Child is Having Sex
As the parent of two teenage girls, I am the first person to admit I would be offended if my teen daughters were asked about sexual status prior to a surgical or diagnostic procedure that had nothing to do with reproductive health – but the fact is that most teens who are sexually active are not honest with parents about their sexual status. This leads to the question at hand – should teen pregnancy testing be a routine part of screening before such procedures?

The Medical Mindset Takes Over
As a mother I admittedly think one way, but as a medical assistant my answer to the question is quite different. If teen pregnancy testing reduces the risk of harm to the unborn fetus there is no doubt routine testing should take place. According to the study, just 42 pregnancies were affected between 2003 and 2009 in the United Kingdom, but those are 42 fetuses placed in harm’s way because a simple test was not run prior to a procedure. It is important to note that those 42 pregnancies were realized within a four-week period. That means as many as 546 fetuses could be affected in one year’s time. 

Parents may not want to admit their child may be sexually active, but if the fetus could be harmed by surgery or diagnostic test – pregnancy needs to be established prior to the event. The only way to accurately determine pregnancy is to run a pregnancy test, which could mean children and teens could be subjected to pregnancy testing as early as seven years of age, depending on reproductive status.