Can an algorithm replace the pill? Natural Cycles app wants to do just that
Berglund's algorithm - based on advanced statistical methods from her time at CERN - uses body temperature to determine fertility. After ovulation, increased levels of progesterone make women's bodies up to 0.45°C warmer. Input your daily temperature into her app, and by comparing the readings with those in its data set, it lets you know when you can have unprotected sex (shown as a green day in its calendar) and when to use contraception (shown as red).
Wed Oct 12 17:37:51 2016 - permalink -
Natural Cycles has conducted two clinical trials, the second of which analysed the data of more than 4,000 women aged 20-35. Over the course of one year, there were 143 unplanned pregnancies, ten of which occurred on green days, giving the app a 99.5 per cent efficacy rating - the same as the pill. Natural Cycles is currently the only app of its kind to be regulated as an approved medical device, putting it in the same category as condoms and IUDs - albeit in a different class.
Berglund's next aim? For it to be classified as a contraceptive, not a fertility monitor. "We are a natural alternative to the pill - with no side effects."
“The efficacy is far below that of intrauterine contraception or implants, but similar to that of the pill when used in real life.”
To this end, Berglund recently hired another particle physicist from CERN, to analyse the data from the app. She hopes that, in this way, she can convince women in the security of her app. “It can be very scary, especially when it has to do with your body and your health,” she says. “We know we are dealing with women’s lives here and we take that very seriously.”