This column has been a bit of a journey for me. It began back in January this year at the beginning of our quest for a second baby. Although we had ICSI for our first, we’d heard all about the ‘fertile’ luck other couples had encountered following fertility treatment, and we gave ourselves six months to try naturally. During that time I was determined to try every single gadget that might help, and below is my review of everything I’ve come across this year. Unfortunately for us, conceiving naturally wasn’t to be, and we’ve just undergone IVF once more in the quest for number two, but I’m hoping one of these genius products might be your answer.
I was really excited about the Ava fertility tracker – it looks really cool, although you’re only required to wear it at night while sleeping. On waking, you simply put it back on charge and sync the bracelet to your phone to download the night’s data.
The concept of the Ava Bracelet is pretty much the same as the FitBit in that it links to an app on your phone. The Ava Bracelet busies itself by tracking and collecting data on nine different physiological parameters while you sleep each night. The Ava’s algorithm uses that information to detect your fertile window, to tell you about your physiological stress levels and how much sleep you got, and a bit about sleep quality too.
You no longer have to worry about the tricky task of manually tracking your basal temperature with a regular thermometer every morning, as the Ava bracelet maps your temperature automatically. Basal temperature taking can end up being incredibly inaccurate if like me, you get up for the toilet around 4/5am, or you forget to take it on waking. So much can affect the accuracy of your basal temperature, if you’re doing it manually, you have do have to do a bit of research and put in the work to truly master the art.
The Ava has been proven to detect an average of 5.3 fertile days per cycle at 89% accuracy.
The Daysy Fertility Monitor comes in a cleverly packaged box with step by step instructions on how to use it, which is incredibly simple. All you need to do is take your temperature each morning, and confirm menstruation on the days you have it. The Daysy evaluates your data and calculates your fertility status for that 24 hour period. The Daysy will flash red if you’re fertile, and green on the days you’re infertile.
Daysy links with its own app to record the course of your cycle, so you can plan your baby making days within the right window. It’s a simple, easy to use device that gets down to business.
The Mira Fertility Tracker is due to launch in the next month. It’s a pee on a stick concept to measure your Luteinizing Hormone (LH). The sticks are then inserted into and analysed by the Mira Analyzer device which links to the app to provide information on your hormonal and menstrual cycle. I haven’t tested this tracker, but instantly, the downside would appear to be the ongoing cost of buying the wands to pee on.
Ovacue is a fertility monitor that tracks both your saliva and cervical mucas. There’s a separate oral sensor for your tongue and a vaginal sensor to track the shift in your estrogen dominance to progesterone dominance – which indicates ovulation. Unlike those pee-on-a-stick monitors, these sensors are reusable. They link up to a monitor which tracks your readings, identify trends and produces a calendar which outlines your cycle and in particular, your fertile period, providing 5-7 days advance notice of ovulation, which we all know, is key.
Ovecue identifies individual trends in each person, analysing your body’s own unique readings. This particular method of determining when ovulation occurs is particularly beneficial for women with irregular cycles.
The Stork Conception Kit is a device you can use at home to help aid conception. Using cervical cap insemination technology, the device operates in a way that deposits your partner’s sperm as close as possible to the opening of the cervix. The Stork team claim that the conception kit has success rates comparable to in-clinic methods such as inter uterine insemination (IUI).
I’ve used The Stork Kit around 4/5 times but it’s never been successful for us as a couple. I do believe this wasn’t a fault of the product’s, but an unknown issue that only ICSI could solve for us personally. The product is easy to use if you follow the instructions carefully, and definitely worth a shot when you think of how much professional treatment costs in comparison. Please do follow the steps carefully – we incorrectly used our kit once, and wasted £100 – sadly, The Stork Kit is not reusable.
The Mosie is another at home insemination product, and one I didn’t realise was on the market, so I’ve not tried this one personally. The US website is a little frustrating as there is no real information to tell you how the Mosie actually works – you have to dig around a bit to find the instructions. Eventually I found the answers in their FAQs, and then felt a little bit silly at how obvious it all is.
The Mosie works first by collecting a semen sample into a cup, drawing the sample up into the syringe and inserting the syringe into your vagina, as you would a tampon. The semen is released by pushing down onto the plunger, after which they advise you lie down and chill for 15-30 minutes. Cue the legs in the air trick!
I think most of us trying for a baby have heard of Clear Blue, and some of us have probably bought the Advanced Fertility Monitor. This monitor stores fertility and pregnancy information by tracking 2 fertility hormones – estrogen and luteinising hormone. Its aim is to use that information to identify your window of fertility each cycle – letting you know the days whereby the chance of conception is most likely.
In addition to tracking your fertility, this monitor also allows you to test for pregnancy at the end of the month to see if you’ve been successful.
It’s another monitor that requires the constant buying of sticks, which can become very expensive very quickly if like me, you spend 18 months struggling to conceive.
The Femometer is a basal thermometer that links your data to an app via bluetooth. The Femometer is capable of measuring the tiniest of changes in your body temperature, translating that information into data to inform you of your fertile window. The Femometer is available in lots of cool colours, it’s simple, easy to clean, and a great place to start if you’re trying to conceive and want to track your basal temperature and link data automatically to an easy-to-use app.
If you’re getting down to business throughout your fertility window – or as some fertility experts have advised, every other day throughout your monthly cycle, you might find you need a little help to relieve vaginal dryness. Pre-seed and Conceive Plus are both lubricants that mimic natural body secretions to not only make sex that bit more enjoyable, but also to provide an optimal environment for sperm to travel up to your cervix. Either or are great options.