GU Reseacher Behind App Alerting Women to Fertility Status
January 6, 2011 – The first software application to help women plan or avoid pregnancy has been developed by researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center’s Institute for Reproductive Health.
The application, called iCycleBeads, is available through iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
A woman using the application enters the start date of her most recent period and any historical data on her menstrual cycles. At the touch of a button, iCycleBeads shows her where she is in her fertility cycle and when pregnancy is more or less likely.
“Electronic devices like iPhones are increasingly popular and we see this technology as an important new way to reach women,” said Victoria Jennings, director of the Institute for Reproductive Health and professor of obstetrics and gynecology. “We think that iCycleBeads will appeal to any woman who is interested in effectively and easily managing her fertility and uses a compatible mobile digital device.”
The application is designed as a virtual representation of the original CycleBeads, a string of 32 color-coded beads co-developed by Jennings. A calendar view is also available. A red bead or box represents the first day of a woman’s cycle, brown is for days when pregnancy is unlikely and white is used for days when pregnancy is most possible.
The user receives alerts about when she is in her fertile window, days when pregnancy is unlikely and when she is likely to get her period. An alert also prompt the woman to enter her cycle data if she forgets.
The original CycleBeads and iCycleBeads is based on computer modeling of reproductive physiology data and tested in large clinical trials.
The Institute for Reproductive Health developed the only natural methods of family planning clinically tested and introduced on an international scale. CycleBeads and iCycleBeads were designed for women with cycles between 26 and 32 days, an estimated 80 percent of women of reproductive age.
Cycle Technologies, the manufacturer of CycleBeads, is offering iCycleBeads at the iPhone Apple store.
“While many women still prefer having something tangible like CycleBeads to hold in their hands, having an electronic version will make this family planning method available to the millions of women who use computerized ‘apps’ for so many things every day,” Jennings said.