Science

Contraception App May Cause Unwanted Pregnancies

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 10, 2017 05:30 AM EST
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Sexual health experts issue a warning to women who are using a contraception app to track fertility and prevent unwanted pregnancies. They caution women that despite the advertisement of the app, more research is needed to test its effectiveness. The warning comes after the official approval of Natural Cycles was given as a method of contraception.

In a clinical study in 2015, results showed that the app was as effective as the pill.The app works for women by entering their body temperatures, as well as their ovulation test results and date of menstruation. An algorithm, which uses a computer software to set rules to help solve a problem, then determines whether a woman is fertile on that day.

The app's main purpose is to help her make a decision about having unprotected sex. However, despite the approval of sexual experts about the effectiveness of the contraception app, seeing that it has great potential to broaden contraception choice, three organizations issue a warning. On Thursday, they argued that being classed as a medical device doesn't guarantee the app will effectively prevent pregnancy, the BBC reports.

Dr Cecilia Pyper of the University of Oxford and several sexual charities said that these kind of apps often come with complicated instructions that need to be strictly followed. The result won't be effective if the woman doesn't follow it meticulously. Since a lot of women are often busy and have a lot of things to take care of, experts wonder if this is the best choice for contraception.

“Women who wish to use fertility awareness-based contraception are advised to receive guidance from a qualified teacher to learn how to effectively monitor the different indicators," Diana Mansour, vice president for clinical quality at the Faculty for Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, says. According to the BuzzFeed, in a clinical setting, the contraception counselor can provide guidance or clarification. She stresses that contraception apps currently do not come with this teaching, usually resulting in the women leaving room for misunderstanding and inaccurate use.

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