A “contraceptive app,” which became certified in the European Union as a “form of birth control,” has been blamed following 37 unwanted pregnancies.
Natural Cycles, an app available on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, claims to be 99.5 percent effective as a form of birth control, informing users when they are and are not fertile.
According to the Verge, “Södersjukhuset hospital in Stockholm reported the app to Swedish regulator MPA (the Medical Product Agency), after 37 women visited the hospital for an abortion after becoming pregnant while using Natural Cycles.”
“The app uses an algorithm and measures factors like temperature to determine the period when a woman may be fertile. It’s a popular alternative to hormonal contraceptives like the pill because it lacks side effects,” they explained, adding that Natural Cycles are “in touch with the MPA about each individual case.”
In a statement, Natural Cycles declared, “No contraception is 100% effective, and unwanted pregnancies is an unfortunate risk with any contraception. Natural Cycles has a Pearl Index of 7, which means it is 93% effective at typical use, which we also communicate.”
“At first sight, the numbers mentioned in the media are not surprising given the popularity of the app and in line with our efficacy rates,” the company continued. “As our user base increases, so will the amount of unintended pregnancies coming from Natural Cycles app users, which is an inevitable reality.”
The Verge reports that the app “currently has 700,000 users worldwide.”
Though the app claims to be 93 percent effective on its official website, its Apple App Store page claims to be 99.5 percent effective, while the Google Play Store page claims to be “99% effective in perfect use and 93% effective in typical use.”
In February 2017, Natural Cycles became a certified method of birth control in the European Union (EU).
“The European inspection and certification company Tüv Süd gave Natural Cycles a CE certification in February, which means the app is now considered a medical device for contraception in Europe,” reported the Verge. “To get the CE certification, Scherwitzl says the app has repeatedly demonstrated in a series of clinical studies that it improves the effectiveness of traditional planning methods.”
Natural Cycles charges users either monthly or annually to use their service.