In a landmark fertility app study, researchers from Georgetown University found a 1% failure rate with perfect use and 5% failure with typical use
WASHINGTON, March 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Cycle Technologies announced today that its fertility app Dot™ was shown to be highly effective at preventing pregnancy in a recently completed study. The efficacy study, which followed participants for a full year, found a 1 percent failure rate for Perfect use and 5 percent rate for Typical use. In a paper published in The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, the researchers said their "findings that Dot is effective for pregnancy prevention, and most women are able to use Dot successfully according to their intention to prevent pregnancy."
The Dot efficacy study was a prospective trial conducted by Georgetown University Medical Center's Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH), an organization with extensive experience researching evidence-based fertility awareness methods and conducting contraceptive efficacy studies. The Dot study received funding support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The study collected data from more than 700 women in the U.S. and followed them for up to 13 cycles to assess the app's contraceptive efficacy.
Dot is a fertility app that calculates a woman's daily chance of pregnancy using period start dates. Its proprietary algorithm uses Bayesian statistical analysis to determine a user's risk for pregnancy each day. As she enters more dates, the Dot app refines its calculations and narrows the days considered high risk. The user is given this information in such a way that she can use it for pregnancy prevention or pregnancy planning.
Beginning in February 2017, IRH invited Android users of Dot to participate in the study. IRH adhered to the rigorous standards for a contraceptive efficacy study in this technology-based environment. Participants were new users of Dot who were actively enrolled and screened to determine that they were likely fertile and at risk for pregnancy. Additionally, they provided daily coital information so that researchers could accurately assess perfect-use efficacy and understand how users managed their high-risk days.
"This is the first time that researchers have used the established contraceptive-efficacy protocol to study women in real-time while they used a fertility app to prevent pregnancy," said Dr. Victoria Jennings, Director and Principal Investigator at IRH. "Our rigorous study design also allowed us to understand how women use the app and how they can be encouraged to use it correctly."
During the study, only one woman who had reported correct use became pregnant. "Correct use" was defined as women using either condoms or abstaining during their high-risk days. All other pregnancies were due to incorrect use, such as having unprotected sex or using withdrawal on fertile days. The study found a 'typical-use' failure rate of 5 percent. For reference, the typical-use failure rate as reported by the 21st edition of Contraceptive Technology is 0.1 to 0.8 percent for IUDs, 7 percent for birth control pills, and 13 percent for condoms.
"These results are compelling," said Leslie Heyer, President of Cycle Technologies. "We believe that fertility apps meant to be used as contraception must be tested in the same way as condoms, birth control pills, and other proven methods."
Smartphone-based family planning is a promising option for women who want to avoid the side effects of hormonal birth control. It's also important to women who lack access to physical contraceptives or face cultural barriers to getting them. While research shows that most fertility apps cannot identify the fertile window correctly, this study shows that the Dot app accurately identifies pregnancy risks. The Dot fertility app offers a free, evidence-based option that is effective for pregnancy prevention and available anywhere in the world.
About Cycle Technologies
Cycle Technologies is a social impact company focused on women's health. Since its founding in 2002, the company has worked to address unmet needs in family planning, prevent unplanned pregnancies, and help people have the families that they want when they are ready. Its three apps - Dot™, CycleBeads®, and 2Day™ Method – and a physical CycleBeads product have helped meet the contraceptive needs of millions of women around the world. Learn more at www.CycleTechnologies.com.