The Natural Cycles app, a certified contraceptive based out of Europe, has become a popular form of birth control. With over 700,000 users worldwide, you might expect a certain degree of effectiveness, but a Swedish hospital is claiming otherwise.
Södersjukhuset Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, reported to the Medical Products Agency, the Swedish government agency for regulation and surveillance of drugs and medical devices, that at least 37 women sought abortions at its facilities after the app failed as a method of birth control.
The app, launched in 2014, was a huge success, especially with younger adults who prefer not to take any hormonal pills or injections. According to the app's description, Natural Cycles can predict a woman's fertility using factors like body temperature, sperm survival rates, and past menstruation cycles.
However, like any contraceptive, there's a chance for failure, and the company was quick to defend itself.
In a statement to CNN on Money, Natural Cycles said:
No contraception is 100% effective, and unwanted pregnancies is an unfortunate risk with any contraception. 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.
Natural Cycles still stands by their product, believing the app is one of the best contraceptives on the open market. They said:
We’d like to reassure the medical community and the public that Natural Cycles is an effective, clinically proven, form of contraception, which hundreds of thousands of women worldwide trust as their birth control to prevent or plan a pregnancy. ... 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. As our user base increases, so will the amount of unintended pregnancies coming from Natural Cycles app users, which is an inevitable reality.
One fact the company stands by is the publicly known risk of using more common forms of contraceptive, like birth control pills or IUDs. Their website warns that one out of 100 women who use the app for a year could become pregnant, while the pill is commonly said to have a 99% success rate. Natural Cycles said they haven't spoken to Södersjukhuset Hospital, but are working on each case with the Medical Products Agency.
Twitter users had thoughts about using an app to monitor fertility: