It's no secret that I started having children late, after many years of studying, working and travelling, as well as a last few years wondering if I'd ever meet Mr Right. Thankfully, I did (although you might not think so if you'd heard the humdinger of a row here at Attachment Towers this morning!) and we were lucky to get pregnant with Lara fairly quickly. It took a few months, but when I finally bought an ovulation kit we realised we had got the dates all wrong! If only the Natural Cycles app had been around then.
I can well remember having a rather cringey conversation in ur pre-wedding meetings with our lovely vicar, Father Andrew, about the s-e-x word and having children. What would we do if we couldn't get pregnant? How would it affect our marriage? Being adopted myself, and having friends go through it, I know more than enough about infertility, and being in my late 30s it had of course crossed our minds. Thankfully, all worked well and Lara was followed promptly by her sisters, with less than two years between them. Unfortunately, baby number four has been a more tricky prospect, and after finally conceiving, we recently lost our much longed for fourth child at just 8 weeks gestation.
The miscarriage is still very raw and painful, but I am heartened by news of the Natural Cycles Fertility App which has a high success rate in its native Sweden, helping more than 5000 women to get pregnant within less than three months of using it. This hormone-free fertility app was invented by a husband and wife team, and has been shown to be as effective as the contraceptive pill* in preventing pregnancy, and could pinpoint ovulation with the same accuracy as methods used in clinics and hospitals**. It is even the first health app for women to be regulated as a medical device.
In fact, so confident is Natural Cycles co-founder Dr Elina Berglund of her product, that she is offering to refund women TTC in the UK if they don’t conceive in the first nine months of using the app! Physicist Elina, who was part of the Nobel Prize-winning team that discovered the Higgs boson, wrote the algorithm for the app because she wanted to give her body a break from the pill but could not find any good forms of natural birth control. Having created the app in 2014, she called it Alba after her daughter. The app now has more than 100,000 active users in 161 countries.
Natural Cycles works by identifying a woman’s ovulation and prime fertility window by tracking her period and temperature. Just record the temperature under your tongue in the morning and enter it into the app, which then uses a unique algorithm to determine whether you are fertile on that day. (A basal thermometer is included in your subscription package.) The app's algorithm 'learns' about each individual woman’s temperature fluctuations over time, so becomes more accurate as you use it more frequently.
Dr Berglund says:
“Natural Cycles is a great example of how technology is helping women to conceive in an easy and accessible way. We know we’re dealing with women’s lives here and we take that very seriously. The app can also be used for infertile couples to identify the cause of infertility. We’ve helped over 5,000 women in Sweden get #HappyPregnant and hope to achieve the same success with women in the UK.”
This hormone-free fertility calculator can also be used the other way round, to check which days to not have sex if you do not want to get pregnant at this time. By pinpointing your fertile time window through daily body temperature measurements, the app can predict when you will ovulate and gives 'red' and 'green' days. If you are using the app for contraceptive purposes, you can have sex on green days, and avoid it on red ones. A study of 4054 Swedish women aged 20-35 examined how effective the app was at preventing pregnancy, and found that is was equally as effective as the pill, with none of the side effects or health risks.
For us, pinpointing ovulation accurately will be essential for conceiving again, and we will certainly be giving Natural Cycles a try. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
Whether you are trying to conceive, or trying to prevent pregnancy, this app is certainly worth investing in.
What do you think? Would you use this app for contraception or when trying to conceive?
Natural Cycles is offering women in the UK a refund if they don’t conceive in the first 9 months of use, as well as 50% off a yearly subscription by visiting https://www.naturalcycles.com/en/plan and inputting this code: AMNC50 (valid until 31 December).
*European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care http://ow.ly/10gLMr
**Clinical Study: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13625187.2014.988210