'98 percent effective'

FDA-approved birth control app could transform contraception — if Trump doesn’t weaponize it

(REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

“I’m a person who really likes to plan and optimize,” Elina Berglund told the Guardian — not surprising, coming from the woman who designed the world’s first birth control app, which analyzes women’s ovulation cycles. With more than a million users registered worldwide, Natural Cycles is the first app to be certified as a contraceptive in Europe, and was recently cleared by the FDA to be marketed as birth control in the U.S.

Berglund, a Swedish scientist, says she’s used the app successfully for both birth control and conceiving. As a contraceptive, it is 93 percent effective with “typical use” and 98 percent effective with “perfect use,” according to the company. The reason it is not 100 percent effective, said Berglund, is because sometimes the body suddenly ovulates early, or there is a temperature rise that looks like ovulation but isn’t.

That said, Natural Cycles has achieved remarkable success as a product, with $37.5 million in investment and 95 employees globally.

Elina Berglund during The Sime Awards at Cirkus, on November 15, 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)

It isn’t without its baggage, however. Last year, a hospital in Stockholm reported that 37 Natural Cycles users had abortions in a four-month period, sparking an official investigation. And some have even wondered whether the Trump administration — known for crusading against reproductive rights — might try to use the app as a way of restricting access to pharmaceutical birth control methods.

Despite these concerns, Berglund hopes her product gives women looking to conceive — or not conceive — a little more control over their choices.

“As a European scientist I’m of course more pro giving the women as much option as possible and letting them choose,” said Berglund. “I think that’s more the right thing to do.”

Read more at the Guardian.

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