Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Fertility Made Easy With New GUMC iPhone App

Family planning has gone digital with the recent release of Cycle Technologies’ iCycleBeads, an application for Apple products that allows women to track their menstrual cycles on their iPhones, iPods and iPads.

iCycleBeads follows a woman’s menstrual cycle, helping women avoid pregnancy or aiding in their attempts to become pregnant by identifying their days of fertility and infertility.

According to Leslie Heyer, president of Cycle Technologies, the application is meant to facilitate natural family planning.

“iCycleBeads allows a woman to both plan and prevent pregnancy easily and effectively without in-depth tracking of complicated data, a counselor to review information or requiring additional tools to help her use it,” Heyer said.

Cycle Technologies, a company licensed by Georgetown University, works directly with the Georgetown University Institute for Reproductive Health (GUIRH). The new application was inspired by Cycle Technologies’ original CycleBeads product, which is a circular set of beads with which women can track their menstrual cycles by moving one bead each day along a rubber ring.

The iPhone application, which costs $2.99, claims to allow women an easier, more accessible way to follow their cycles. Women input the start date of their last menstrual period, and the application then identifies and tracks where the woman is in her current cycle and when her most fertile days will be.

This information is presented in calendar format or by a virtual representation of color-coded CycleBeads. A red box or circle represents the first day of a woman’s period, white represents days when the female is the most fertile and brown signifies the days when pregnancy is least likely.

Heyer said that the app was designed after feedback from the original product suggested that an electronic alternative would be effective.

“Through our work with CycleBeads, we’ve received a lot of feedback over the years, and we had a good idea of how to make this app as user friendly as possible,” Heyer said in an email. “We also understood how to translate the method on which CycleBeads are based into an app. We did show it to our colleagues at the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University to get their feedback before we introduced it.”

So far, the application has received near-perfect reviews, with a five-star product rating on the Apple iTunes Store.

“The feedback so far has been great,” Heyer said, adding that the alerts are one of the most popular features of the application.

“People love the alerts – the alert that let’s them know if they are in different stages of their cycle or if their cycles, reminding them to input their cycle data, or letting them know if they are having a cycle that is too short or too long to use the method correctly,” Heyer wrote.

Designed for women who have typical cycles – cycles that are between 26 and 32 days long – the application takes into account the 24-hour life span of a woman’s egg and the five-day life span of sperm, as well as the actual timing of ovulation each month.

The iCycleBeads application is currently available only on iTunes, though Heyer says that may change in the future.

“We’re also getting requests to make this available on other devices, so we are exploring that,” Heyer said.

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