Patient Resources

New iPhone App for Fertility

A scientifically-based family planning tool developed by researchers from Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health, a part of Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC), is now available as an application for any smartphone or tablet. iCycleBeads™ is a one-of-a-kind app that enables women to plan or avoid pregnancy easily and effectively. It is used by entering the starting date of your most recent period and any historical data on your menstrual cycles. At the touch of a button, iCycleBeads shows you where are in your cycle and whether you’re on a day when pregnancy is likely or not.

“It is an updated version of the infamous rhythm method,” says Dr. Gerald Mulvaney of the North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine (NCCRM).  He applauds the good intentions of the app to help women learn about their cycles but advises couples to seek medical guidance if they do not conceive in the appropriate amount of time after actively trying.  Guidelines set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine say that women under 35 who don’t conceive after 12 months of unprotected sex should consult a fertility specialist.  Women over 35 who don’t conceive after 6 months of unprotected sex should seek guidance from a fertility specialist.

The app is designed as a virtual representation of actual CycleBeads®, a string of 32 color-coded beads. A calendar view is also available. A red bead or box marks the first day of a woman’s cycle, brown represents days when pregnancy is unlikely, and white represents days when pregnancy is likely. The user will also receive alerts that notify her when she is in her fertile window, when she is on a day when pregnancy is unlikely, and when she is likely to get her period. An alert will also prompt her to enter her cycle data if she forgets.

The app is modeled on the popular family planning tool, CycleBeads. Based on sophisticated computer modeling of reproductive physiology data and tested in large-clinical trials, CycleBeads lets a woman know her cycle length and clearly identifies days eight through 19 of her cycle as the days during which she is fertile. These 12 days take into account the life span of the woman’s egg (about 24 hours) and the viable life of sperm (about five days) as well as the variation in the actual timing of ovulation from one cycle to the next.

IMAGE: iCycleBeads, a scientifically-based family planning tool developed by researchers from Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health is the first software application that enables a woman to plan or avoid pregnancy…
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The Institute for Reproductive Health has developed the only natural methods of family planning that have been clinically tested and introduced on an international scale. CycleBeads and iCycleBeads were designed for women with cycles between 26 and 32 days, an estimated 80 percent of women of reproductive age.

Cycle Technologies, the manufacturer of CycleBeads, is offering iCycleBeads at the iPhone Apple store. “We are pleased that Cycle Technologies has taken this fertility management tool high tech. While many women still prefer having something tangible like CycleBeads to hold in their hands, having an electronic version will make this family planning method available to the millions of women who use computerized “apps” for so many things every day,” said Jennings, an internationally respected family planning researcher who is a co-developer of CycleBeads.

iCycleBeads will be available worldwide. Potential users of this new “app” include many of the approximately 60 million women in the United States who are of reproductive age – 15 to 44 years of age. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 3 million unplanned pregnancies each year. An estimated twenty percent of women who believe they are infertile are actually mistiming their efforts to get pregnant. iCycleBeads can help address these issues with a high tech solution.


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