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Tracking fertility isn’t easy, but it can be, says Lea von
Bidder, cofounder of fertility tracking company Ava.
Ava’s £199 (€199, $199) sensor bracelet, worn only at night, tracks
changes across nine physiological parameters, like heart rate and
temperature, and uses them to monitor the user’s menstrual cycle
in real time.
The Swiss medical technology company, which
last month raised $9.7 million (£8 million) in a Series
A funding round, is expanding into Europe in January after
launching in the US in July. Most of the money will go into data
science and clinical research, the company said.
Unlike period-tracking apps
such as Clue, Ava doesn’t rely on any data inputted by the
user, Bidder told Business Insider, allowing it to be more
“Inputting your menstruation and from there guessing when your
next ovulation is going to be is, in the end, a guessing game …
it only knows the end point, not what your body is doing before
menstruation. Especially if you have a very irregular cycle, or a
slightly irregular cycle, which most women have,” Bidder said.
Instead of relying on user-inputted data, Ava works by tracking
nine physiological parameters through the bracelet — such as heat
loss, pulse rate, and temperature —and links changes in these
parameters to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle
(specifically oestrogen and progesterone). It then syncs this
data to the app, notifying the user of their “contraception
“This is really crucial,” Bidder told Business Insider, because
it “helps us detect the very beginning of the fertile window and
not just the end as, for example, urine or temperature tests
[traditionally used to track fertility] potentially could …
That’s why women who currently use us like us so much because
it’s easier and way earlier, so couples have time to prepare,
enough time to book a romantic weekend away and to make use of
the full fertility window.”
Results from the device’s first clinical trial at the
University Hospital of Zurich showed that the bracelet detected
an average of 5.3 fertile days per cycle with 89% accuracy — in
total women have six fertile days and 70% of pregnancies happen
within three of them, Bidder said.
And Bidder thinks Ava’s bracelet and technology were way overdue:
“What we are doing right now should have been around when Fitbit
started to become big. We are just trying to catch up with the
technology. As a modern woman who is travelling around, working,
for her to be forced to start taking her temperature with a
thermometer every morning at 6 am is a bad situation.”
The FDA-registered company has so far presented at medical
conferences on the relationship between changes in temperature
and heart rate (two of the nine physiological parameters its
bracelet detects) and hormonal changes during the menstrual
cycle, Bidder said.
Ava sees itself not just as a fertility tool, but as a women’s
health company. And its ambitions reflect that.
Bidder told Business Insider: “We want to accompany women
throughout all their different life stages, be it trying to get
pregnant, being pregnant, contraception, or menopause … There’s
so many phases in your life where the hormonal changes in your
life make a big difference. And all of those areas are the areas
we want to get into.”
“We’ve actually seen a lot of women in their twenties who are not
trying to get pregnant buy the bracelet just because they have a
huge urge to start understanding their body better and understand
why they feel a certain way at the end of their cycle,” she said.
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