Nearly 40 Women Using a Popular Birth-Control Fertility App Accidentally Become Pregnant

Nearly 40 Women Using a Popular Birth-Control Fertility App Accidentally Become Pregnant

It's a non-hormonal method of birth control, and obviously doesn't work 100 percent of the time. 

By Marianne Garvey

A fertility app meant to prevent pregnancy has resulted in 37 unwanted pregnancies so far. Whoops.

The women were using a European Union-certified fertility app called Natural Cycles as a non-hormonal method of birth control, but ended according to the Swedish news agency SVT, fell pregnant instead and sought abortions at a Swedish hospital.

The app, available on Google Play and Apple's App store, has more than 500,000 users in 161 countries.

How it works: The app takes daily body-temperature readings from a thermometer to predict a user's ovulation. The math also takes into account any cycle irregularities and sperm survival rates.

The makers of the app claim using it prevents unwanted pregnancy 93 percent of the time — but Södersjukhuset Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden found that 37 of the 668 of the patients who sought an abortion between September and December 2017 had been using the app to avoid getting pregnant.

A spokeswoman for the company has released a statement saying, well, hey, it happens.

"No contraception is 100 percent effective, and unwanted pregnancies is an unfortunate risk with any contraception...As our user base increases, so will the amount of unintended pregnancies coming from Natural Cycles app users, which is an inevitable reality…The numbers mentioned in the media are not surprising given the popularity of the app and are in line with our efficacy rates. We have initiated an internal investigation with our clinical department in order to confirm this."

Instead of the app, Planned Parenthood recommends better methods of birth control, like condoms, and the pill, which are more effective.

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