Fertility Apps Do not Help You Get pregnant
Beyond Regular Intercourse
Many women use fertility apps to track their menstrual cycle and time intercourse. Tracking cylces, using apps as method of regitring when the cycle started and ended is fine. The use of apps to time intercourse is not supported by any scientific evidence. We know for a long time that conception is likely to occur when exposure to sperm takes place in the six days that end in ovulation.
Why Fertility Apps are Unlikely to be Helpful
An analysis of large number of apps and websites indicates that only a minority will yield that fertile window and thus are unlikely to help women get pregnant.
Variation in the length of menstrual cycle 21 to 35 days will also means that ovulation day is very difficult to predict with methods readily available for women. Early ovulation (day 6 or 7 of the cycle) as well as late ovulation (day 18 to 20) will be missed. Conception will be a possibility in these cases for women having regular intercourse.
Sperm survives for at least 3 days. The WHO in a large study indicates that intercourse 3 times a day yields highest pregnancy rate among normal couples. Conceptually if you have intercourse 3 times a day, after menses, you have exposure to sperm all the time and there id no need to time ovulation. More accurate timing of ovulation using many self administered methods has so far to demonstrate increase in pregnancy rate. More recently survey of more technology mediated methods also failed to show an increase in pregnancy rate beyond regular intercourse.
Effectiveness of Fertility Apps
Beware of many writings about fertility apps, what do they do and what do they do not do…They miss the most important piece of information. Do they enable you to get pregnant at higher odds that those not using the app? And of course they cannot accurately answer that question as they did not not do the research that prove an improvement in pregnancy rate. Many articles about fertility apps start with the narrative assumption that they are effective without offering a reference or proof.
One recent scientific survey of over 50 apps indicated that most of them even miss the fertile period. Insisting on intercourse at a specific day is not helpful also can impair performance in men.
How Long Have you Been Trying to Conceive (TTC)
Its exactly how long have you been having intercourse not protected by a birth control (pills, condom), irrespective of use of apps or any other method of timing ovulation. Not accounting for this period, artificially shorten the duration of infertility and delay seeking medical care.
Its great to use technology when it helps, it gives women a sense of empowerment. But when technology is not proven to be helpful then simple proven solutions should be used.
Possible Harm Caused by Using Apps
When you use fertility apps alone to conceive you are in effect
1. Depriving yourself of other fertility tests. You will not know if your partner sperm is normal or if your Fallopian tubes are open. Your egg reserve is also not evaluated. All these factors are important for decision making about fertility and how long you should continue to try using the app. For example, if your tubes are blocked or your husband sperm is low intercourse close to your ovulation will not be helpeful leading to more time wasted and no improvement in chance of conception.
2. Preconception testing and counseling performed at initial fertility evaluation is skipped. That means the risk of common genetic and other diseases are not tested for e.g cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, spinal muscular atrophy, Ashkenazi Jewish Profile and others. These increase the risk of transmission of genetic diseases to the baby. Other infectious diseases are not tested for too e,g hepatitis, immunity to Rubella and chicken pox.
3. Serious security and privacy flaws has been cited for some fertility apps. Fertility apps ask users for intimate details including weight, sex life, pregnancy, miscarriage.. A recent consumer report indicated that someone with no hacking skills can access all these data. Data are also shared without permission with other apps