Can mathematics replace medicine? This new birth control app would suggest so

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The Nordic Business Insider reports that Swedish physicist Elina Berglund created an app which has been approved by German inspection and certification organisation, Tüv Süd. They have found that it works as well as the contraceptive pill to prevent pregnancy.

According to Wired, Berglund developed the app during her time at CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research). One wonders where she found the time, since she was also part of the team that helped find the Higgs boson particle. 

Geniuses, eh?

How does it work?

Berglund wanted to develop a form of non-intrusive birth control and get to know and understand her own cycles better. Thus Natural Cycles was born. According to Nordic Business Insider the app officially offers a new, clinically tested alternative to invasive birth control methods like hormonal pills, IUDs, implants and condoms.

To use the app you have to take your temperature every morning before getting out of bed and enter that measurement into the app. A mathematical algorithm developed for the app then calculates whether you are fertile or not, and calculates safe and unsafe days for you to have sex without conceiving.

It’s basically a very sophisticated, practically fool-proof version of the calendar method and period tracking – something women have used since the dawn of time to prevent or encourage pregnancy. But this app removes the guesswork.

Will it work for me?

If you are a healthy, responsible woman with fairly regular periods who has complete autonomy over her sexual choices and activity then yes. And hell yes.  While the efficacy is not as high as an intrauterine device, it’s about as effective as the pill when used in real life.

By simply choosing to abstain from sex for a few days every month, or to use alternative birth control like condoms or a diaphragm during your “red” days you would be able to control your fertility without taking any hormonal pills, injections or implants.

But if you are using hormonal birth control to treat conditions like dysmenorrhea, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis or acne, this app won’t make a difference in your life.

Likewise if you’re the type of person who tends to skip days when taking the pill or has many late nights or very disruptive living patterns.

And finally, you and your partner have to respect the days when you could be fertile and abstain from sex, or use alternative contraception like condoms on those days. So if you have bad impulse control, or you think alcohol and or recreational drug use will affect your decision-making, it would be best to stick with something a bit more invasive.

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