Fact Check

Pregnant Male Drug Test Cheater

A man was caught cheating on a drug test when urinalysis revealed he was pregnant.

Published Apr 24, 2001

Claim:   A man was caught cheating on a drug test when urinalysis revealed he was pregnant.


Example:   [Los Angeles Times, 2001]

[Quarterback] Todd Marinovich told The Times he got past drug testing at USC by using someone else's urine. Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic can top that ruse: "Several years ago, one conference player made the mistake of smuggling in his girlfriend's urine. She was pregnant." 5


Origins:   As drug tests for employees and athletes have become more and more a part of everyday life, so has the finding of inventive ways to defeat those tests by those with something to hide. Since a common form of drug testing is conducted by analyzing a sample of the testee's urine, obvious ploys to beat the test are for a testee to substitute a sample of urine taken from a donor known to be "clean," to try to alter the sample, or to submit a completely different (yet still urine-like in appearance) substance:

Women can fall foul of the tests, too. When Katrin Krabbe was caught out in South Africa in 1992, it was because samples from the former world sprint champion and her two training partners were identical — they were all from the same person. 4

Charlie Francis, the notorious coach who oversaw the doping and training of Olympic sprint cheat Ben Johnson, regaled the world with a story of how one prominent European female field event athlete used a bubble-making toy to catheterise 'clean' urine for drug tests. 4

But no athlete has yet had the audacity of Australia's rugby league skipper Wally Lewis, who admitted that in 1990, when called for a random drug test, his urine consisted almost entirely of flat lager. Lewis passed the test (but then he was an Australian rugby player). 4


Inevitably, we'd expect to hear anecdotes (true or not) about drug test cheaters hoisted by their own petards — not just caught red-handed, but caught in ways that allowed not even the least bit of plausible deniability:

A cyclist in France, so the story goes, was so concerned at the prospect of a drug test that he slid a specimen bottle containing his wife's urine into his shorts.

When the time came for him to provide a sample, he had no difficulty.

A few weeks later, he received a note from the testing laboratory telling him his drug test had been negative but that he was pregnant. 2

More than once, a male sportsman has provided urine for a drugs test only for experts to break the astonishing news to the competitor that he was 'pregnant'. So much for the girlfriend's help. 4


We haven't yet found a verified news report of a drug testee whose cheating was exposed when urinalysis revealed him to be pregnant. (Pregnancy tests aren't a standard part of the drug screening process.) The closest example we've seen

so far concerned a man convicted of theft in Ohio who was required to submit urine samples to probation officers as part of a pre-sentencing investigation in 1998. When the man seemed nervous, claimed he couldn't urinate, and finally produced a
suspiciously cool (in temperature) sample, officials noticed his wife was obviously expecting. On a hunch, they ran a pregnancy test on his submission, and they guessed correctly: The sample came back positive. A second drug test (administered under slightly more stringent conditions) revealed the presence of cocaine. 3

In November 2014, an Egyptian web site presented an (unverified) account of a supposed recent real-life instance of this legend:

An Egyptian bus driver who tried to avoid a drugs test by using his wife's urine has been busted after it turned out his wife was pregnant, it's reported.

The man had been selected for a standard drugs test along with other public bus drivers, but did not submit his own urine sample, instead using his wife's, the Al-Yawm al-Sabi website reports. What he didn't know was that his wife was two months' pregnant. Before revealing the news, officials asked the driver to confirm the sample was in fact his own, according to Tamer Amin, a presenter on the political talk show Bottom Line. After the driver said it was, the officials reportedly responded: "Congratulations, you're pregnant."


Of course, when all else fails, testees have come up with some imaginative excuses to explain away the results:

The fallibility of testing procedures was illustrated by the reported excuse of our narcotically-enhanced pugilist after his post-bout sample contained an abnormal hormonal balance. This, he suggested, was due to the fact that, the night before the fight, he had engaged in some voracious oral sex with his pregnant wife. So, not content with being knocked out in round three, not sufficiently defeated by failing a drugs test, our hero had felt obliged to blame it all on the missus and her bedroom demands. 1


We couldn't end this piece without repeating a related and well-known joke, usually told as a humorous means of expressing concern about the questionable quality of the local water supply, or to disparage the output of a rival brewery:

The inhabitants of one village were very dissatisfied with the quality of the local drinking water. After years of fruitless complaints to the local authorities, the villagers chipped in, got enough money together to pay for a test, and sent a sample of the water to a laboratory for testing. A few weeks later they got the result of the test. It said: "Your horse has diabetes."

Two young fellows decided to open a microbrewery in the foothills. After several years of careful work they produced a product with a golden, strawlike color and a good, strong flavor of hops. They sent it to the chemical lab at the State Department of Food Safety, and after waiting impatiently for three weeks, they received a lab analysis which stated, "Dear Sir: Our analysis of the sample sent to us indicates that your horse has diabetes."


Last updated:   5 November 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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