A Math-Based App That Will Negate The Need For Birth Control? Yes, Please!
I can bet that many women’s hearts did a little skip at the sight of the headline to this article. Could it be? Could it possibly be true that women don’t need to bear the brunt of birth control methods thanks to an app? And thanks to math? Now that’s something to write home about. You know the many, many times we moaned in class about when we would REALLY need math? How important could it possibly be in the grand scheme of things? Turns out, a lot, all things considered. Now, aside from helping you split the bill at a restaurant efficiently, you have math to thank for not being preggers too.
Thanks to nuclear physicist Elena Berglund, the EU now has an approved alternative to birth control. Elena and her husband, Raoul Scherwizl, developed and built Natural Cycles using a mathematical algorithm. It has been approved by German inspection and certification organisation Tuv Sud, but is still awaiting the American FDA approval.
How It Works?
Natural Cycles calculates a woman’s fertility by using math and measuring body temperature. Every morning, women measure their temperature under their tongues and feed the information into the app, and the algorithm tells you whether or not you are fertile on that day. This app obviously prevents pregnancy but doesn’t have any effect on STDs.
What Do You Need To Keep In Mind?
Although it claims to be as good as the pill, there are a few things that you should be aware of.
Around the time you ovulate, your body temperature rises slightly (about 0.3℃) and remains slightly elevated throughout the rest of your cycle. It makes its calculations based on your period dates and your body temperature because it spikes during ovulation. Since your egg survives for a day, having sex beyond that window will not get you pregnant. However, sperm can stay alive inside you for a week, so if you do it before, it might be a problem. The app uses an algorithm that takes into account your temperature, sperm survival, temperature fluctuations, and irregular cycles, and therefore, is more reliable than its ancient predecessor, the calendar. This age-old method requires you to keep track of your fertility and not have sex during that period, if you want to avoid pregnancy, and have a lot of it during that period, if you do. But this way is not as effective, because our bodies are susceptible to change. Even stress can alter cycles.
According to a clinical study, the failure rate of the app was 7 percent, which is lower than the pill and significantly higher than an IUD. In the end, it is a fertility-awareness based method of contraception and works brilliantly for those who have a predictable sex schedule, regular cycles, and are of proper health. That said, it is heartening to know that the women who did get pregnant had sex on days that they were told they were fertile, so it’s not like the app gave out misinformation. And best of all, the idea behind this app was that it was contraception without side-effects, and isn’t that just what we’re looking for?