A subscription-based contraceptive app known as Natural Cycles is being blamed for unwanted pregnancies.
Natural cycles is used by hundreds of thousands of women worldwide as a tool for predicting if they’re ovulating and therefore more or less likely to get pregnant. The app tracks the users body temperature using an algorithm that detects their ovulation.
After downloading the app users create an account and choose one of two options:
- I want to get pregnant.
- I don't want to get pregnant.
Depending on which one you choose, the app will tell you to either use contraception or not based on the likelihood of pregnancy.
The app requires users to log when they get their period, how long it lasts and record their temperature every day. With the cost of the monthly subscription users are sent a basal thermometer that according to the company’s website can more accurately measure fertility than a regular thermometer.
The app claims it can predict when a woman most likely to get pregnant based on that information.
But there are complaints the app is not working as advertised. A hospital in Stockholm claims they treated 37 women who got pregnant while using the app and according to the Swedish publication SVT, the hospital has officially filed a formal complaint against the app.
In a statement, Natural Cycles responded:
"An unwanted pregnancy is, of course, very unfortunate and we deeply care every time one of our users becomes pregnant unplanned. Unfortunately, no contraception is 100% effective and unplanned pregnancies are an unfortunate risk with any contraception."
Natural Cycles notes research published in Conception Daily that says the app is 99 percent effective with “proper use” and 93 percent effective with "typical use" which means that in total 6.8 women out of 100. Compared to a typical use failure rate of 9 women out of 100 reported for the Pill.