Images courtesy of Ava Science
Until recently, detecting the time during a woman’s cycle when she is most likely to conceive has been imprecise. Methods included measuring basal temperature spikes, which only detect ovulation after the fact, or urine tests that indicate a surge in luteinizing hormone, which predict ovulation is imminent within 12-36 hours. Both require meticulous recording of data by the user.
Ava Science offers a fertility tracker that requires much less effort on the part of the user. Ava, a device that is worn on the wrist like a bracelet while the woman is sleeping, measures key physiological parameters to detect signals that mean the user is entering the fertile window. The data is then synced with an app on the user’s smart phone.
One of the factors Ava analyzes is resting pulse rate. According to a recent study using the device, researchers observed a significant increase in pulse rate during the fertile window compared with the menstrual phase (2.1 beat-per-minute, p < 0.01).
The device also measures other variables such skin temperature, breathing rate, heart rate variability ratio, blood perfusion, movement (which determines between light and REM sleep), and amount of sleep. Ava must be worn a minimum of four hours per night, with at least three hours of sleep for the data to be meaningful.
The tracker can detect an average of 5.3 fertile days per cycle at 89% accuracy, although the company says that algorithm performance may be improved with more regular cycles and diminished with less regular cycles.
The new version of the device, 2.0 Ava, “features an improved sensor and strap, is more lightweight and comfortable, and has a battery that lasts twice as long as previous generations,” said Lea von Bidder, Ava cofounder, in an interview with MD+DI. Other improvements include a vibrating alarm and a Bluetooth connection to sync wirelessly with the app, which has a new dashboard feature. Upgraded packages are available as well. They include the device, paired with Webinars, e-books, and fertility coaching services.
So confident is the company about the device’s ability to predict optimal fertility days that it guarantees pregnancy within one year or the purchase price is returned. “Ultimately the goal of adding all the updated bracelet and app features, as well as offering the new value-added services has been simple—to help Ava users get pregnant faster, setting them up for the best chance of success,” said von Bidder. She adds that the one-year pregnancy guarantee requires that users synced their devices an average of 80% of all their completed cycles during the 12-month period.
“Launched in the United States in July 2016, the bracelet is sold in 34 countries and has helped more than 16,000 women (since April 2017) become pregnant,” said von Bidder. She said about 50 new pregnancies a day (in Q3 2018) are being reported among Ava users.
[Images courtesy of AVA SCIENCE]