Inspector Gadget: Electronic Fertility Monitors
In the 21st century, we have endless gadgets and gizmos at our fingertips to help streamline our lives. Case in point – the device you’re reading this on. But gadgets aren’t just for social media and internet scrolling, they can also be incredibly helpful when it comes to decoding your body – including your fertility. Electronic fertility monitors are one of the many health tech advances that have helped revolutionize the way that people take charge of their fertility and their lives. Ready to learn all about this handy gadget and how it can help you navigate fertility? Time to dive in!
The female body shifts and changes throughout its menstrual cycle. Fertility is reflected in these changes through things like basal body temperature, cervical fluid, cervical height, and hormonal fluctuations.
What is An Electronic Fertility Monitor?
Some of the most common ways that people track their fertility and ovulation are through monitoring their basal body temperature (link when published) and cervical changes (link when published). Sometimes these tools are unreliable, especially for people with reproductive health issues like endometriosis and PCOS.
That’s not always enough for everyone, especially for people who have had fertility issues or difficulty conceiving. Luckily there are some other tools on the market that can help to track fertility and help increase your chance of getting pregnant. There are a variety of electronic fertility monitors on the market. Most of them use one or a combination of methods to track ovulation including levels of fertility hormones in your saliva and urine, basal body temperature, and cervical fluids.
Here’s an overview of how different ones work:
Wands: These devices test fertility hormones, specifically luteinizing hormone, in your urine. Levels of this hormone are higher during ovulation. Wands look and function like pregnancy tests, and are one of the most cost-effective methods.
Basal Body Thermometers: Basal thermometers are designed to detect the very slight increase in temperature that occurs during ovulation. These are more precise than a regular thermometer, which can’t detect the slight changes that happen from ovulation.
Wearable Fertility Monitors: These devices typically monitor your heart rate and basal body temperature. They are worn against your skin, usually overnight. Many have an app that syncs with the device to track your cycle and help predict ovulation.
Digital Fertility Monitors: These are similar to wands, but a bit more high-tech. There are sticks that you urinate on, that you then put in a machine to measure hormone levels. Similarly, they may sync to an app or display results on the screen if it has one.
Finding The Right Electronic Fertility Monitor
Many of these fertility trackers can be rather pricey, with wands being the most cost-effective option. They are, however, more cost-effective than seeing a fertility specialist. Although they’re often only a stepping stone before getting further help. Your lifestyle is a huge factor to take into consideration when choosing a fertility monitor. Basal body thermometers for example require consistency. They may not be the best option for you if you have an irregular sleep schedule, travel a lot, have certain health conditions, or are on certain medications.
If your cycle is irregular or you have reproductive health issues like PCOS, endometriosis, or are peri-menopause, you may want to opt for one of the more high-tech devices. The same is true for people who have been trying to conceive for quite some time, or you are in your mid to late thirties and older.
Here are some of the most popular electronic fertility monitors on the market:
Mira Plus: This digital device with wands tracks estrogen and luteinizing hormone levels to help determine ovulation.
Kegg Fertility Tracker: This is a high-tech kegel ball that tracks your cervical mucus to determine ovulation. It sends your data to be analyzed and displayed on an app that shows fertility and cycle trends.
Natural Cycles Basal Thermometer: This thermometer tracks your basal temperature and sends it to an app to help track ovulation and fertility so that you can plan accordingly. These tools can also be used to help prevent pregnancy if you’re not trying to conceive, although they’re not 100% effective. We recommend avoiding penetrative sex or using condoms or another form of protection during your fertile window.
Mira Fertility Plus: When choosing the right fertility device, we recommend thoroughly reading online reviews and asking around if you have friends who have also used one.
A Word on Fertility Issues
Fertility issues are one of the most sensitive topics in reproductive health. If you’ve had trouble getting or staying pregnant, we empathize with you. This is not easy to go through. Even the best of gadgets can’t guarantee a pregnancy. If you’re looking for further support, it may be helpful to seek out a fertility specialist who can do proper testing and scanning. It can also help to seek out a therapist or family counselor. We know this can be a tender time, and you deserve all the support and help you can get.
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.