Plan to use fer­til­ity aid to warn women off sex

The Star Early Edition - - METRO - EMILY KENT SMITH

A FER­TIL­ITY tracker bracelet de­signed to help women get preg­nant could soon per­form the re­verse role and re­place tra­di­tional con­tra­cep­tion such as the Pill, its mak­ers claim.

The Ava bracelet, which is al­ready be­ing used by thou­sands of women in Bri­tain, is close to launch­ing a con­tra­cep­tion set­ting which will show when fer­til­ity is high and warn against in­ter­course.

Ava is in the late stages of re­search be­fore rolling out the new set­ting on the £249 (R4424) bracelet, which looks like a Fit­bit-style fit­ness tracker.

The move is likely to be wel­comed by women who of­ten for­get to take their pill. It is claimed the bracelet and its app help users keep an ac­cu­rate track of their men­strual cy­cle by mon­i­tor­ing nine “biomark­ers”, in­clud­ing skin tem­per­a­ture, breath­ing, heart rate and “per­fu­sion” – blood sup­ply around the body. The mak­ers say the bracelet can de­tect an av­er­age of 5.3 fer­tile days per cy­cle with 89% ac­cu­racy.

The Swiss-based com­pany de­cided to launch the con­tra­cep­tive fea­ture fol­low­ing feed­back from women who ad­mit­ted they were al­ready us­ing the de­vice to avoid preg­nancy.

Ava global brand di­rec­tor Sonja Lutz said: “We are not a con­tra­cep­tive as of to­day but we have clin­i­cal tri­als and stud­ies run­ning.”

Ava plans to seek ap­proval from the US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion which would mean it could mar­ket it­self as an al­ter­na­tive to tra­di­tional con­tra­cep­tion.

“That is the next step,” said Lutz, speak­ing at the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show in Las Ve­gas. The com­pany would not say when the new fea­ture would be made avail­able.

The plan is that the bracelet will help a woman know when, and when not, to be in­ti­mate with her part­ner.

It is worn at night by those try­ing to con­ceive. Through a mo­bile phone app con­nected to the de­vice, the wearer is shown her fer­til­ity win­dow each month and sent an alert when it is time to start try­ing for a baby.

It is claimed users are able to plan in­ter­course months in ad­vance, with the app map­ping out when they will be most fer­tile.

The firm’s con­tra­cep­tion plans come after an ad­vert for an app which claimed to act as “dig­i­tal birth con­trol” was banned in Bri­tain last year.

Nat­u­ral Cy­cles claimed to help pre­vent preg­nan­cies through al­go­rithms based on ovu­la­tion, men­strual cy­cle length and tem­per­a­ture. But the Ad­ver­tis­ing Stan­dards Au­thor­ity ruled that claims made about the ef­fec­tive­ness of the £5.99-a-month app were ex­ag­ger­ated.

THE Ava fer­til­ity tracker bracelet.

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