Dossier: Planning a family

Three digital fertility and cycle trackers

Having difficulties falling pregnant can be very stressful for couples. Digital fertility and cycle trackers can help identify a woman’s fertile days. We look at three examples below.

Text: Sonja Brunschwiler; photo: Unsplash

Few women fall pregnant at the first or second attempt. However, if you still fail to conceive after taking your temperature and monitoring your cervical mucus over a longer period, there are other options available today: digital fertility and cycle trackers. These are a slightly more expensive option, but they give a better overview of a woman’s fertile days and ovulation. Three examples:

Intelligent fertility tracker: Daysy

In tandem with an app, the Daysy fertility tracker analyses the daily measured basal temperature to determine fertile and non-fertile days. The basal temperature is taken in the morning under the tongue. Users also have to enter whether they are on their period. The app uses an algorithm based on a comprehensive database containing around ten million menstruation cycles. After an initial learning phase, in which the algorithm collects individual data, such as the daily basal temperature, start and end of menstruation and past cycle data, it starts to predict the period of ovulation with increasing accuracy. The fertility tracker is equipped with a sensitive sensor for measuring the basal temperature and uses a precise method to obtain the final temperature value.

Fertility tracker: Clearblue mini-computer

This tracker is easy to operate via touchscreen. It works with urine test sticks, which can be replenished as necessary. Clearblue measures the concentration of the two female fertility hormones oestrogen and LH (luteinising hormone) and uses this data to calculate the fertility window in each cycle. Unlike traditional ovulation sticks, Clearblue indicates days of high fertility and days of maximum fertility and adjusts to the user’s cycle when used over several months to give optimised results.

Breath analyser: analytical device Breathe ILO

This breath analyser uses a self-teaching algorithm to determine a woman’s fertile days. All you have to do is breathe into the device’s mouthpiece for a minute a day to measure the CO2 content of your breath. Breathe ILO uses this CO2 measurement and the lifestyle tracking function in the app to calculate your cycle. What sets Breathe ILO apart from conventional methods is that it enables live tracking instead of giving a predicted value.

Digital aids for contraception? Be careful!

None of these fertility and cycle trackers are accurate enough to be used as a method of contraception. Humans aren’t machines – says gynaecologist Nicole Landolt from the Medix group practice in Zurich. Being unable to conceive while trying to fall pregnant can often cause feelings of stress, frustration and desperation.

So it’s great that there are ways to improve a woman’s chances of conceiving today. The gynaecologist agrees, but adds: “Humans aren’t machines, every body is different. And even the most sophisticated trackers available today can’t take these differences into account 100%.” She therefore considers it important that women who want to get pregnant keep looking for ways to relax – and don’t lose patience. “Acupuncture or massage treatment can help you relax. But talking to your partner or best friend can also often help reduce stress and take the pressure off.”