Handheld, hormone-free and Instagram-approved: is fertility tracking the future of contraception?
Tech entrepreneurs have coined a new category: FemTech, a new family of apps that allow women to input data and follow their cycles.
Fertility tracking apps are a clash of old-school meets high tech. It’s true what they say: technology improves our access to everything: even, astonishingly, our own bodies. (Maybe next the brains behind GPS tracking can create an app to help partners find the clitoris.)
Before smartphones, fertility tracking was popularly known as the ‘rhythm method’: where you track your periods to work out when you are ovulating, and avoid having unprotected sex around ovulation. As many ‘cyclers’ can tell you, ‘tracking’ today is far more complex.
The apps have a friendly interface, and are always on hand for you to check or update – they almost look like a game. Natural Cycles comes with a thermometer to help you log your basal temperature (your lowest body temperature, usually attained while asleep) every morning.
Women and people with uteruses who use the app are instructed to measure their temperature as soon as they wake up and log it in the app correct to two decimal points, along with details of your periods and the consistency of your cervical mucus. Ah, you know, just everyday stuff…