Introducing Hoopsy: the eco pregnancy test
We were very excited to discover Hoopsy, and their innovative plastic-free, recyclable pregnancy tests. Dedicated to creating sustainable healthcare products, Hoopsy was founded by Lara Solomon after she learnt that in the UK, 12 million plastic pregnancy tests go into landfill each year. Shocked by this number, she set about creating a sustainable test that could be recycled.
As well as bringing sustainability to sexual health, Lara talks openly about her experience with IVF and offers support to couples who are trying to conceive. So we sat down with her to learn more about her story and how Hoopsy came into being.
So tell us about Hoopsy! We’ve not heard of an eco pregnancy test before, can you explain what it is and tell us about how you came up with the idea?
Our eco pregnancy test is a midstream test that you wee on to find out if you are pregnant or not. The reason it is eco is because it’s 99% plastic-free. All the other midstream tests (which is the type that most women prefer to use) are approximately 90% plastic and take 30 years to break down in landfill. Our test is just as accurate as the current tests sold but is better for the planet.
In 2021 I did IVF to try and have a baby, going through two donor embryo transfers. Unfortunately, neither was successful. In doing this I joined lots of online groups and kept seeing women posting photos of their test results, and often it would be 10 or more plastic tests. I was just shocked by all the plastic for a product that is only used for 5 minutes!
I thought that there must be a sustainable option, but after searching I couldn’t find any. So I decided that someone needed to produce a sustainable option and that it may as well be me!
How has your experience with IVF and embryo transfer influenced the development of Hoopsy as a brand and product?
Going through IVF is like nothing I have experienced before. I’ve experienced the death of my parents and had cancer, but IVF is something different. My personal experience has made me more empathetic to what other women go through, I understand the hope, the heartache and the pain both emotional and financial.
I think it shaped the Hoopsy brand right from the start, for example, the name. The word HOOP is Dutch for hope, as I felt that when taking a test you are always hoping one way or another, then HOOPS because life and the fertility journey is jumping through a series of hoops.
I am very aware in marketing that with a pregnancy test, there are two results and not everyone is hoping for a positive and vice versa, I know firsthand how emotional you are when you are on your fertility journey, and therefore how personally you can take things. My experience has definitely influenced the brand. It’s also drawn people to open up to me because I have been so public about what I have been through. There still aren’t that many people talking about it. So it’s good to be increasing awareness around fertility issues and supporting women going through them.
There's a lot of misinformation on the internet about fertility and conceiving. What are some of the myths your organisation is keen to bust?
Where to start? There are so many factors involved with trying to conceive and fertility. Some things I hear a lot are:
Just relax and it will happen. Have you ever wanted something so much that you think about it day and night and you constantly worry about doing the right thing? It is true that stress does affect fertility, but telling someone to relax does not help them relax!
It’s all down to the woman. As if the sperm has no part to play! But in actual fact, male infertility is rising and they think that half of men in the Western world will be infertile by 2045.
IVF is a solution that will work when nothing else does. So not true, unfortunately. Even though IVF has been around for 40 years, it’s not an exact science. The fertility specialists don’t know exactly how your body will react to the drugs and on average it takes 3 rounds to get pregnant, but often more.
What has been the most unexpected challenge you've faced with Hoopsy?
It might sound naïve, but I assumed that women would be actively looking for a sustainable pregnancy test and retailers would want to sell a sustainable option. People are concerned that a sustainable option won’t be as accurate, even though it is, and retailers are nervous that women won’t buy it.
This has meant we’ve had to do much more education and awareness building around the brand and product than I originally expected.
Sustainability is obviously a big part of the Hoopsy story, why do you think it’s important to consider it when managing our sexual health?
Managing our sexual health is important and often when it comes to medical items, we think that they need to be plastic for hygienic reasons. They don’t, it’s just the way that they have been done in the past.
I think with climate change, and global warming/boiling we need to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately for too many years, we haven’t thought about what happens after we throw stuff away, or what things are made from and it has affected the planet.
With Hoopsy I am trying to make it easy for people to choose sustainability having the same level of accuracy, the same type of test and the same price as the leading plastic brands.
Do you have any tips for people who want to take a more eco-friendly approach to their sexual health? Obviously, they should use Hoopsy tests! But anything else?
Yes, buy our Hoopsy tests! But it’s not only pregnancy tests that can be sustainable, try these tips:
If you're taking tablets, ask for ones in a glass bottle rather than a blister pack. If you can’t get a bottle, you can recycle blister packs at some pharmacies
If you know you will need a few months’ supply of a product that you order online, buy it in one go to save the shipping of the same item repeatedly
Try to buy items with less plastic packaging
Don’t flush anything down the toilet!
If you are using toys, switch to rechargeable batteries
Rather than a box of tissues by the bed, try a damp cloth/towel
A lot of being more eco-friendly is just about being a bit more prepared and going less disposable. Remember EVERY bit helps, don’t think it doesn’t matter it’s just one person, all those ones add up and make a HUGE difference.