Georgetown conducting real-time study of fertility app

Out of 100 fertility-tracking apps, Cycle Technologies’ Dot is one of the few that predicts fertility based on empirical evidence, said Victoria Jennings, director of the IRH, in a statement.  And while it can be used to plan pregnancies, the Georgetown team will be studying its use in preventing unwanted pregnancies.  It requires the start date of a woman’s period to predict her chance of pregnancy each day of her cycle, the IRH said in a statement.  In a previous study, Jennings and her colleagues analyzed the fertility data of approximately 1,000 women in geographically and culturally diverse environments.  The study concluded that the app would be 96% to 98% effective when a woman started using it and that its efficacy would increase with use.

In this new study, the Georgetown team will look at how women use the app.  The study participants will be women who are already using Dot.  “To our knowledge this is the first prospective study on the effectiveness of a ‘fertility app,'” Jennings said.  In addition to measuring the efficacy and efficiency of the app, the team will also observe how social factors may change how a woman uses Dot, and how using Dot may affect a couple’s relationship.  Participants will be interviewed four times during the study, and they will also answer questions sent by researchers in the app.

With the increasing availability of smartphones and relative simplicity of the app, the team is targeting the more than 22 million women worldwide who have an unmet need for family planning, Jennings said.

Last summer, Boulder, CO-based Kindara snagged a $5.3 million seed round to develop its wireless basal thermometer that connects to its fertility tracking app.  It is intended to help women who want to become pregnant as well as those who want to avoid it.

REFERENCE:  Fierce Medical Devices; 27 JUN 2016; Amirah Al Idrus

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