Contraceptive App Blamed for a Wave of Unplanned Pregnancies

By Kim Snaith on at

Natural Cycles is an app that women can use to monitor their menstruation cycles. By measuring temperatures and monitoring your cycle, it can tell you the times of the month you are most fertile – i.e. the days to avoid having sex (or use extra precautions) if you don't want to get pregnant.

It's been certified as a valid form of contraception in the EU, but it's been hit with a wave of complaints, blaming it for 37 unwanted pregnancies that resulted in abortion.

It's unfortunate – but no form of contraception is 100% effective, even when used exactly as intended. Leaving an app to decide when you're at your most fertile, however – well, it's surprising the success rate is as high as it is, really. It relies on you inputting the data correctly and regularly (what if you forgot to record your temperature one day?) as well as making assumptions about your menstrual cycle. Hell, when I don't even know what's going on with my own body most of the time, I can't expect an algorithm to know it.

A spokesperson for Natural Cycles stated that the method is 93% effective – which is pretty high, considering that the pill is only 91% effective according to the NHS website – and so as more users sign up to the service, it's only logical that more unwanted pregnancies from its userbase will occur. It's a matter of statistics.

What the Natural Cycles app offers is pretty much what people had to rely on before contraception was a thing: the knowledge of your own body and cycle. But of course, we need apps and technology to tell us everything these days. [The Verge]