Natural contraception app gets FDA approval
Natural cycles– which uses an algorithm that takes data from your daily temperature checks to calculate the days you’re most fertile – was just one of the the exciting new femtech innovations of the past year (which included everything from next-gen vibrators and pelvic floor boosters to redesigned menstrual products).
Users pay $ 10 per month (or $ 80 per year) for the app, which explains when it is safe to have unprotected sex without conceiving. And if it seems downright scary, there is a lot of evidence that says otherwise.
In a year of independent clinical trials, the app was shown to be 99% effective, which is the exact rate of effectiveness of an IUD and birth control pill when used perfectly, according to Planned Parenthood.
Independent clinical studies involving 22,785 women found that the “perfect use” of Natural Cycles (which refers to using the application exactly as directed) had a failure rate of just 1%; while “typical use” (which explains the occasional misuse of users, or ignoring the app’s recommendation to have alone safer sex on certain days) pushed that number up to 6.8 percent. Over the course of a year, the application was found to be 99% effective, which is the exact rate of effectiveness as IUD and birth control pills when used perfectly, according to Planned Parenthood. Additionally, this information indicates that Natural Cycles is 1% more effective at preventing pregnancy than the perfect use of a condom.
What’s even more interesting is that it was still 93% effective when users weren’t as careful, 2% more than the effectiveness of the pill and 8% more than that of. a condom in the same circumstances. However, it is important to note that there have been cases in the EU of people becoming pregnant despite using the app: SVT, a Swedish broadcaster, reported that 37 of the 668 women who had an abortion in a Stockholm hospital between September 2017 and the end of the year say they used Natural Cycles as a contraceptive tool. Since the hospital did not say whether or not all of the women were using the app correctly, according to Business intern, this information cannot really be seen as a true reflection of the capability of the application.
All this to say that if you follow your daily temperature checks and always use a condom on “red” days (AKA on your most fertile days) you might just be able to avoid getting pregnant without according to a pill rich in hormones.
Originally published September 19, 2017; updated Aug 13, 2018 with additional reports from Kells McPhillips.