Fertility apps that aim to help prevent unwanted pregnancy might not work, researchers warn
- The coronavirus lockdown is predicted to lead to a baby boom early next year
- Scientists say not enough evidence apps accurately predict ‘fertile window’
- May be due to flaws in calculations or because they are not used properly
- Women planning low-risk time for unprotected sex could follow wrong schedule
Using a fertility app to help prevent an unwanted pregnancy may not work, researchers have warned.
The coronavirus lockdown is predicted to lead to a baby boom early next year.
But many women will be turning to technology to avoid getting pregnant.
Scientists say there is not enough evidence that some apps accurately predict women’s ‘fertile window’.
Women who are planning for a low-risk time for unprotected sex could follow the wrong schedule, research warns
That may be due to flaws in calculations or because they are not used properly.
It means women trying to calculate a low-risk time to have unprotected sex may be following the wrong schedule.
Researchers led by the Open University reviewed 18 studies on apps and raised concerns that some were developed without consulting fertility experts.
Dr Diana Mansour, of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, said: ‘It’s understandable that during the Covid-19 pandemic, women may choose to turn to fertility apps as a logical solution for avoiding face-to-face consultations.
‘However, we still don’t know how well many of these apps work to prevent unplanned pregnancies. All require correct and consistent use with daily inputting of data.’
Dr Mansour: ‘At present it’s important to treat fertility apps for contraceptive purposes with caution’
Dr Mansour added: ‘Fertility awareness apps have the potential to broaden contraception choice, but at present it’s important to treat fertility apps for contraceptive purposes with caution.
‘If women need to start contraception or get a repeat prescription during the Covid-19 pandemic, I advise them to call their GP or contraceptive clinic to discuss their need.
‘Most GP practices will be able to issue an electronic prescription that women can collect in their nearby pharmacy – other services can supply/post their preferred method.’