Out of fear of contracting the Coronavirus and in an attempt to reduce the pressure on medical practitioners who are currently at the fore front of the battle against the pandemic, many women are turning to fertility apps to tackle their fertility issues.
However, a new review is raising a red flag on the strength of the evidence on the effectiveness of the popular apps, saying research that does exist suggests they're not always accurate.
According to Dr Diana Mansour, the vice president of clinical quality at the UK's Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. (FSRH), "We still don't know how well many of these apps work to prevent unplanned pregnancies. All require correct and consistent use with daily inputting of data. Fertility awareness apps have the potential to broaden contraception choice, but at present, it's important to treat fertility apps for contraceptive purposes with caution,".
She urged women to speak to their physician by phone.
Keeping track of the menstrual cycle was the most common reason for using a fertility app, according to the review. Other reasons include using them to help conceive a baby, to inform fertility treatment or as a method of contraception.
Existing apps don't necessarily involve women in their design or development and a woman's motivation for using an app changes over time, the study said, but this wasn't necessarily taken into account.
"This is especially important because the user is considered to be the single greatest 'risk factor' in the accuracy of apps, and this is particularly significant if women are seeking to prevent, or plan, a pregnancy," the authors of the research wrote.
The authors described their research as a "scoping review" that aims to provide an overview of the evidence, but unlike a systematic review, it doesn't exclude research on the grounds of poor quality or potential bias because of the involvement of commercial interests.
Source: CNN Health