Whether or not I’m pregnant is not one of the questions I struggle with these days. My children are grown; and while I wish with all my heart that I still had a houseful of giggling munchkins, that ain’t gonna happen.
So my knowledge regarding fertility treatments is limited, to be sure. I know that the Catholic Church, respecting the procreative and unitive aspects of marital sexuality, condemns contraception. Catholics who wish to abide by Church law (and God’s law) may, either to postpone pregnancy or to achieve their dream of becoming parents, decide to use Natural Family Planning, using the body’s own signals to identify the days each month when a woman is most likely to become pregnant. They can then decide to abstain from sexual relations during the woman’s fertile period. Reading the body’s signs of fertility and infertility, and applying this knowledge through the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM), is over 99% effective in postponing pregnancy.
But I’d never before heard of the Fertility Fitbit. The simple wristband seems just the thing to help couples understand which days they should either get snuggly (if they want to conceive) or play cribbage instead (if they want to postpone pregnancy until a better time).
The Food and Drug Administration has just approved Ava, an armband similar to the fitness and activity bands that help you keep track of your steps in a day, your heart rate, and all-things-healthy. For just $199, American women can track data during and after pregnancy. And you only wear Ave at night, so it won’t give your secret when you’re in the office.
New York magazine’s The Cut explains:
Worn only during sleep (nice perk!), Ava tracks nine different physical indicators which change during windows of fertility, including your pulse rate, breathing rate, sleep quality, movement, and skin temperature. Unlike many other fertility trackers, its makers say Ava can tell you when you’re most fertile in real time, while most methods that use temperature and cycle-tracking alone work only in retrospect. In a clinical study at the University of Zurich, Ava was shown to detect an average of 5.3 fertile days a month, and have an accuracy rate of 89 percent.
Interestingly, the makers of Ava say that their product is most useful for women of “advanced maternal age” (a moving target, but generally placed at over 35 years old) who do not have diagnosed fertility issues. This is likely because these women have completely normal levels of fertility for their age — meaning that they can get pregnant — but tracking their cycles more closely will yield better results.