Johanna Dasteel

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Natural family planning: there’s an app for that

Johanna Dasteel
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July 11, 2013 (LifeSitenews.com) – The latest entry into the world of at-your-fingertips fertility apps is “Clue,” a period and ovulation tracker that developer BioWink GmbH is marketing as replacement for birth control. 

The app offers “push notifications” to alert users to periods of fertility, infertility and menstruation.  It uses a mathematical algorithm that takes details contributed regularly by the user about mood, fluid, menstrual period, level of pain, PMS symptoms and sexual activity and uses them to predict the different periods of a woman’s reproductive cycle. 

App designer, Mike Lavigne, said, “We’ve had a lot of doctors involved from engineering backgrounds, model experts, and also fertility experts as well.” 

Ida Tin, founder of Clue, said: “One of the things I have heard again and again from women over the last few years is that many have concerns about taking hormones every day for contraception.

“Millions of women cannot take the Pill because of severe side effects. For these women, Clue can help them decode their cycles so they can make good decisions.”

She adds, “I think that we are moving towards technologies that work with the body, not against it. Quantified data about our fertility is a first step towards innovations that don’t require you to take hormones. I think this is an incredibly exciting development.”

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Tin lamented that there has been no innovation in family planning industry in the 60 years since the development of hormonal birth control. She said her “ultimate aim is to replace the birth control pill, or at least give an alternative.” 

However, Brain Clowes, Director of Research and Education of Human Life International, took issue with some of Tin’s claims, saying that experts in fertility science focused on natural family planning methods have already long achieved Tin's goal of providing a natural alternative to artificial birth control.

 

“NFP programs have been teaching women how to understand and track the biological signs of fertility and infertility for quite some time,” said Clowes.

 “The use of apps and similar technology to help women plan their families by better understanding their natural fertility cycle is definitely something to be encouraged … but some of the statements made by the company behind this particular app show they are either very uninformed about the past several decades of scientific research in this area, or are dismissive of it.” 

“Their claim that there have been no innovations in family planning in the past 60 years is simply untrue-especially in terms of natural family planning, but also artificial means.”  

“These natural methods have been scientifically proven to be more effective at preventing pregnancy than artificial means, and are also more effective at helping women achieve pregnancy than artificial forms of conception.” 

Several other fertility awareness apps have also hit the market in recent months and years. A search of the Apple app store returns apps such as MyFertility MD, Kindara, NFP Charting and others, which offer a variety of features.

Tin said she has plans to develop a more sophisticated hardware for Clue with the special goal of aiding women who are trying to achieve pregnancy, which she says is a “very lucrative market.”

IBIS World reports that the fertility industry in the U.S. generates revenues of $2 billion per year.

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