New devices help couples combat infertility

Friday, October 5, 2018
New devices helps couples combat infertility
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New devices helps couples combat infertility

Alexis Cole is anxious for her baby to arrive next month. She tried for a year and a half to get pregnant but says she found quick success after wearing this fancy gadget for a couple of months. Cole explains, "It's a little bracelet that you wear every night to bed. And it tracks different parts of your body... your heart rate, your respiration, your sleep patterns."

Her device, the Ava, is one of several wearables designed for women looking to get pregnant. Others include the Tempdrop and Duofertility. There's also the Yono and Ovusense.

They each work a little differently to combat infertility, a pretty common problem for couples in this country.

Fertility expert Dr. Kristin Bendikson says, "One in eight couples will struggle with infertility. One of the major factors for women is their age. A woman's ability to get pregnant goes down as she gets older. So, if she waits longer to get pregnant, for example, into her mid or late 30s, then her fertility may be affected."

The devices claim to improve the odds of conception by helping women track their baby-making window... those fertile days in their monthly cycle.

Most measure body temperature to make it happen. "it's a known fact that a woman's temperature actually rises after ovulation. And so, if the device can accurately assess the temperature of the woman, that additional information can be used to help identify when the fertile window is going to come," explains Dr. Bendikson.

However, Dr. Bendikson says there's no hard data showing wearables shorten the time it takes to become pregnant. She says, "There is very little data on the success of these wearable devices. Obviously, the manufacturers of these different products have internal data that claim that the success is really high. However, there haven't been any large studies that are done by outside entities with diverse populations of women that show how successful these apps really are."

She says old-school techniques may be all you need. "These devices can be really expensive and they may not be necessary for women who have very regular periods. Just by having a conversation with their healthcare provider... they can easily assess and identify when their fertile window is going to come and when they're going to get their period," explains Dr. Bendikson.

She cautions that if you do use one, you have to be consistent with it for it to work. Alexis agrees, and happily points out Ava certainly worked for her, saying, "I never thought I'd get to this point where I was actually pregnant... just feeling her move inside. It's amazing."