Good Morning America’s online wellness article features SGF Medical Director, Dr. Eric Widra who talks about getting pregnant using fertility apps and whether more technology is really helpful for women who are trying to conceive (TTC).
New fertility technology such as fertility bracelets, in-ear sensors, vaginal sensors, and more than 100 fertility apps are now on the market targeted to women trying to conceive. These tools are intended to help women know their most fertile window to maximize their chances of conceiving and are continuing to grow in popularity.
1 in 8 couples have trouble conceiving and about “12 percent of U.S. women from the ages of 15 to 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The question is – are fertility apps and other fertility gadgets really helpful for women TTC?
Dr. Eric Widra says, “It is good to empower women but there may be a line that gets crossed into taking advantage of their anxieties. We also don’t want women to feel disadvantaged if they don’t have access to these tools, or feel priced out.”
The concern many doctors have about these apps and wearables is that people are relying too much on the apps and gadgets to help them get pregnant, that they are delaying seeking medical advice, when month after month they are unsuccessful.
Not only are people delaying seeking fertility care, but these items can also be costly, which can add to the already stressful process of trying to conceive.
“The rapidly growing number of options and varying claims of success can make it confusing for women to navigate the options available to them, see if they are backed up by research, and find the one that works the best for their lifestyle and needs,” Widra added.
On average, there is only a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month for a healthy, 30-year-old woman with no known fertility issues. That means that for every 100 fertile 30-year-old women trying to get pregnant in one cycle, 20 will be successful and the other 80 will have to try again.
The important takeaway is there are multiple factors that can impact fertility so a good result on a fertility app doesn’t mean you’re going to get pregnant, just like a bad result doesn’t mean you won’t get pregnant.
While the apps can be successful, for those who are having difficulty conceiving, we recommend seeking an evaluation from a fertility specialist if you meet the following criteria:
- Under 35 with regular cycles, unprotected intercourse and no pregnancy after 1 year
- 35 to 39 with regular cycles, unprotected intercourse and no pregnancy after 6 months
- 40 or over with regular cycles, unprotected intercourse and no pregnancy after 3 month.
It’s important to note, women of any age with any of the following should proactively talk with a physician about how these conditions could affect their ability to get pregnant:
- Irregular menstrual cycles (a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS), severely painful periods, or no period on a regular basis (monthly)
- A history of pelvic surgery (such as the removal of an ovarian cyst, ablation of endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, tubal surgery, or ruptured appendix)
- Diagnosis of endometriosis
For women with any of these conditions, if you’re having difficulty conceiving, we recommend seeking an evaluation right away as early diagnosis and treatment leads to better outcomes.
To learn more about when to seek a fertility evaluation or to schedule an appointment with an SGF fertility specialist, please contact the New Patient Center at 1-877-971-7755 or complete the brief online form.
Editors Note: This post was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of August 2019.