There is a new fertility app coming out designed to help couples avoid their most fertile days; a take-off on the old rhythm method. But can these apps help people who are trying to conceive?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved marketing for a smartphone app claiming to help prevent pregnancy. Stockholm-based Natural Cycles bills itself as a contraception app leaning on fertility awareness, where a woman tracks the days when she is fertile based on body temperature readings and the timing of her menstrual cycle.The app requires women who use it to check their temperature daily using a basal body thermometer. The app groups days as either green or red. During red days, users are advised to avoid sex or use protection such as a condom.
“Consumers are increasingly using digital health technologies to inform their everyday health decisions, and this new app can provide an effective method of contraception if it’s used carefully and correctly,” said Terri Cornelison, assistant director for the health of women in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
So those trying to conceive just track their cycles with the app and do the opposite of what’s recommended. It might make it easier for women who have difficulty knowing their most fertile days. But the app might not be that effective. Questions have been raised over whether this app is as effective in preventing pregnancy as its makers claim. The U.K.-based Advertising Standards Authority announced in June it was launching an investigation into Natural Cycles after reports women became pregnant while using it, reports the Guardian. In January, the app faced investigation from Swedish medical authorities after 37 women who used the app became pregnant.
Of course there are devices and apps designed to help detect ovulation such as ovulation predictor kits which can be combined with non high-tech methods.