The Ava bracelet, which is already being used by thousands of women in Britain, is close to launching a contraception setting which will show when fertility is high and warn against intercourse.
Ava is in the late stages of research before rolling out the new setting on the £249 (R4424) bracelet, which looks like a Fitbit-style fitness tracker.
The move is likely to be welcomed by women who often forget to take their pill. It is claimed the bracelet and its app help users keep an accurate track of their menstrual cycle by monitoring nine “biomarkers”, including skin temperature, breathing, heart rate and “perfusion” - blood supply around the body. The makers say the bracelet can detect an average of 5.3 fertile days per cycle with 89% accuracy.
The Swiss-based company decided to launch the contraceptive feature following feedback from women who admitted they were already using the device to avoid pregnancy.
Ava global brand director Sonja Lutz said: “We are not a contraceptive as of today but we have clinical trials and studies running.”
Ava plans to seek approval from the US Food and Drug Administration which would mean it could market itself as an alternative to traditional contraception.
“That is the next step,” said Lutz, speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The company would not say when the new feature would be made available.
The plan is that the bracelet will help a woman know when, and when not, to be intimate with her partner.
It is worn at night by those trying to conceive. Through a mobile phone app connected to the device, the wearer is shown her fertility window each month and sent an alert when it is time to start trying for a baby.
It is claimed users are able to plan intercourse months in advance, with the app mapping out when they will be most fertile.
The firm’s contraception plans come after an advert for an app which claimed to act as “digital birth control” was banned in Britain last year.
Natural Cycles claimed to help prevent pregnancies through algorithms based on ovulation, menstrual cycle length and temperature. But the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that claims made about the effectiveness of the £5.99-a-month app were exaggerated. Daily Mail