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article imageFDA approves 'Natural Cycles' birth control app

By Karen Graham     Aug 11, 2018 in Technology
The FDA has now granted marketing approval to an app that tracks a user's temperature and menstrual cycle in order to determine which days they are fertile and which days they aren't.
The Natural Cycles Smartphone app came out in the UK in 2016. It is a mobile-based app that is used in combination with a conventional basal thermometer to identify ovulation and, hence, the fertile window. The app requires that the woman enters a precise body-temperature measurement first thing every morning, taken with a highly reliable basal thermometer.
It was even certified by the European Union as the first app to be called a form of "contraception" in Europe. And though the Natural Cycles app boosts over 625,000 users, it has not been without controversy. The company soon found itself under fire for 37 unwanted pregnancies in Sweden in January 2018.
Oral contraceptives with Dial dispenser.
Oral contraceptives with Dial dispenser.
BetteDavisEyes / Wikipedia
"No contraception is 100 percent and unwanted pregnancies are an unfortunate risk with any contraception," the company said at the time. However, to add to the company's problems, in July, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority launched an investigation into the company over claims made in a Facebook ad it ran last year, according to Engadget.
FDA approves marketing of the app
So despite all the negative press, including the unwanted pregnancies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration felt it was perfectly alright to approve the Natural Cycles app for use by American women.
"Consumers are increasingly using digital health technologies to inform their everyday health decisions, and this new app can provide an effective method of contraception if it’s used carefully and correctly," said Terri Cornelison, assistant director for the health of women in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a statement Friday.
Keep in mind the success rate attributed to this app is based on the app's "perfect use rate," meaning it applies only to people who use the app perfectly, following the directions to the letter every day. And keep in mind one other truth - The only way to not end up pregnant is to abstain from sexual intercourse, according to STAT.
Stat cites the CDC, noting that the failure rate for the birth control pill is 9 percent, while condoms are 18 percent and the rhythm method is 24 percent. The IUD, meanwhile, comes in at less than 1% percent.
More about natural cycles, Fda, Contraception, Birth control, unwanted pregnancies
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