Forget implants, forget the pill, forget tubal ligation and vasectomies(ugh!). Simply download an app on your phone and voila! You have a tool for fertility tracking and planning pregnancies literally at your fingertips.
Reports suggest that tens of thousands of women have already downloaded the Natural Cycles app on to their smartphones.
Founded by husband and wife team, Dr Raoul Scherwitzl and Dr Elina Burglund (top physicist at CERN and part of the Higgs boson discovery team that won the 2013 Nobel Prize), the company Natural Cycles claims that clinical studies have shown that the app is effective for contraception and is on par with the pill.
So how does it work?
Natural cycles works by detecting a woman’s ovulation and calculating her fertile days by taking into account factors like temperature, period cycle irregularities, and sperm survival. Once you have downloaded the app, you need to take your temperature in the morning and enter it into the app. The app then indicates whether it is a ‘green ‘day or a ‘red’ day. Meaning – whether you can risk unprotected sex without the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. The more data you enter, the more the app learns and is able to predict better. The company says that the app even learns to adapt and adjust, telling women who have forgotten to enter their details that there are more ‘red’ days coming up.
While the goal of birth control is to avert pregnancy and there are plenty of methods available, their effectiveness and the extent to which they are safe vary from user to user.
A recent study conducted by Monash University has found that almost 50% of Australians who participated in the study used short term methods like condoms or withdrawal as contraceptive methods to avoid pregnancy. It seems that the younger generation of adults are preferring to go back to using natural methods of contraception.
Whether the reason for this is the recent scare about contraceptive pills being related to the rise in incidences of breast cancer is hard to prove. However, as we can see the digital medium might be the way to go. It’s easier, no fuss and a no-brainer.
There are other similar apps for fertility tracking on the market like Kindara and Ovia which do pretty much the same thing. And while there is a demand for hormone free, non-invasive contraception, you must look at it closely before you lighten your wallet, to see whether this is really for you.
Here is an interesting read from The Guardian on fertility tracking apps.