Researchers from the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University...
Researchers from the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University Medical Center published early findings from a study examining the effectiveness of a family planning app called Dot.
Source: Cycle Technologies

Fertility app as effective as modern family planning methods

Researchers from the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) at Georgetown University Medical Center are studying women’s use of the app for 13 menstrual cycles, or about one year. The ongoing prospective study design is the first to apply best-practice guidelines for assessing fertility awareness-based methods in the testing of an app.

Tha app, called Dot, provides a woman with information about her fertility status each day of her menstrual cycle. It uses an algorithm and machine learning to identify the fertile days of her cycle based on her cycle lengths.

After women had been in the study for six cycles, the researchers found that the app had a typical-use failure rate of 3.5 percent, which suggests that Dot’s one-year typical efficacy rate will be comparable to other modern family planning methods such as the pill, injections, and vaginal ring. “Given the growing interest in fertility apps, it was important to provide these early results,” says Victoria Jennings, PhD, principal investigator of the Dot efficacy study and director of the IRH.

There were 718 participants in the United States enrolled in the study, and 419 participants completed six cycles of use. There were 15 confirmed pregnancies from cycles when participants used the method incorrectly (such as having unprotected sex on days of high fertility). No pregnancies occurred in cycles when participants reported correct use of the app during high-risk days for pregnancy. “Our purpose is to provide guidance to women who want to use Dot as well as to health providers and policy makers who are interested in this emerging method of family planning,” Jennings says. “We hope this paper contributes to the on-going discussion about the effectiveness of fertility apps and how their efficacy should be assessed.”

The interim results following Dot’s use for six cycles are published in the journal Contraception (title: “Estimating Six-Cycle Efficacy of the Dot App for Pregnancy Prevention”). Final efficacy results are expected in early 2019. Dot is owned by Cycle Technologies, which is solely responsible for the app.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

About the usefulness of fertility apps

About the usefulness of fertility apps

Analysing fertility awareness apps, researchers have been able to track behavior patterns and accuracy in measuring menstrual health and ovulation.

Smartphone app can hear ear infections in children

Smartphone app can hear ear infections in children

Researchers have created a new app that can detect fluid behind the eardrum by simply using a piece of paper and a smartphone’s microphone and speaker.

Wearables could help pregnant women detect health complications

Wearables could help pregnant women detect health complications

Researchers are developing an app and wearable technology to enable pregnant women to use a smartphone to detect whether they have a condition that could lead to serious health complications for them or their unborn child.

mhealth: assessing anemia without drawing blood

mhealth: assessing anemia without drawing blood

Researchers have developed a way to use smartphone images of a person's eyelids to assess blood hemoglobin levels, a protein in red blood cells.

App detects side effect of breast cancer treatment

App detects side effect of breast cancer treatment

Commercially available app-based technology now makes early detection of lymphedema easier, allowing for proactive treatment.

mhealth: an app to screen for early signs of dementia

mhealth: an app to screen for early signs of dementia

Dementia screening could be as easy as using a smartphone app that listens to elderly people speak.

mhealth: prevention through digital helpers

mhealth: prevention through digital helpers

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Application Center SYMILA have developed a prevention app called BAYathlon that is designed to help detect a specific form of cardiac arrythmia at an early stage.

mhealth: blood pressure monitoring as easy as taking a selfie

mhealth: blood pressure monitoring as easy as taking a selfie

Transdermal optical imaging measures blood pressure by detecting blood flow changes in smartphone-captured facial videos.

Game app provides knowledge of person-centred care

Game app provides knowledge of person-centred care

The PCC Game app being launched offers a virtual journey for greater knowledge and with tricky questions along the way.

Popular articles