FDA approves ‘Ava’, a wearable fertility tracker
Wouldn’t it be great if tracking your ovulation was easy as checking your phone for missed texts?
If you’ve ever struggled to get pregnant then you know tracking your cycle to figure out when you’re ovulating is so much harder than the books, online articles and apps make it out to be. But thanks to a new FDA approved device called the Ava fertility tracker, getting the timing right to have a baby may have just gotten a whole lot easier.
Getting pregnant is all about trying to figure out when you’re ovulating, grabbing your man (or sperm donation) and then waiting to see if you got lucky. For those of us who don’t have regular menstrual cycles, figuring out the few days a month when you can actually get pregnant is tricky. Some of us use a basal thermometer every morning to look for the increase in body temperature that indicates ovulation. Others pee on pricey ovulation test strips hoping to see a change in color that comes with a rising LH level. If you’re me, you go splunking around in the murky depths of your lady garden each morning to track your cervical mucus. Then there are those who say screw it (pun intended) and have sex every day, even if they don’t feel like it, just so they don’t miss their window of opportunity.
The Ava hopes to eliminate a lot of the stress that currently comes with trying to figure out when you’re ripe for the baby making. The Ava looks similar to the Apple watch or a Fitbit Surge, and at $199 it’s priced similarly, too. And while it’s FDA approved you don’t need a prescription or even a visit to your OB to buy one. $199 may seem like a lot, but anyone who’s spent months tracking their ovulation know that those test strips add up, too. The Ava tracks so much more than a single factor of ovulation, and no, you don’t have to wear it all day. Wear it at night while you sleep — and wake with results.
Rather than only looking at a single factor of ovulation, like a urine ovulation test or the basal thermometer, the Ava has sensors that track nine different biological parameters. It tracks your pulse rate, breathing rate, sleep quality, movement, heart rate variability, skin temperature, heat loss, perfusion and body composition. It collects three million data points overnight while you sleep, and when you wake up in the morning you sync it an app on you phone, where it will give you a chart of what it recorded. Over time Ava will predict your ovulation with 89 percent accuracy and provide you with a five day fertility window, which is much easier then texting your partner from the bathroom at work with, “Honey, you have to come home, I took another test, we need to have sex RIGHT NOW, I’ll meet you there.”
Struggling to conceive when you so badly want to get pregnant is stressful enough on its own without also trying to figure out when you’re ovulating. If it’s possible to know in advance a five day window when you’re be most likely to get pregnant in a given month, then perhaps you might be able to follow everyone’s advice to “just relax”, even if only a little bit.
We joke a lot about how technology is taking over our lives and how we can’t live without our phones or gadgets, but if I was ever planning on having another baby, I’d rather use the Ava to tell me if I’m ovulating rather then check myself for the clear, stretchy, “egg white” cervical mucus of ovulation again any day.