Swedish Regulator Says Birth Control App Isn't Actually Causing Too Many Unplanned Pregnancies


The Swedish Medical Products Agency has closed its investigation into Natural Cycles, a new fertility-tracking app that supposedly doubles as “digital birth control,” finding the app is safe to use as contraceptive. Though a hospital in Stockholm linked 37 unplanned pregnancies to the app, the Swedish MPA says Natural Cycles still has the requisite 93 percent effectiveness rate, so, uh, hooray for robot birth control!

There was some serious concern over Natural Cycles in January, when the Södersjukhuset hospital in Stockholm reported that 37 women needed abortions after using the app, which uses your temperature to determine where you are in your fertility cycle (and whether or not you need to use protection). But Engadget reports that based on a 2017 Swedish MPA study of 22,000 women who used the app, the investigation found Natural Cycles did have a 93 percent success rate when used correctively.

Natural Cycles also updated its app with instructions detailing the risk of pregnancy, a requirement Swedish MPA needed in order to close their investigation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Natural Cycles marketing approval in August, despite the then-ongoing investigation.

As for the 37 pregnancies, Swedish MPA says those numbers came from a study of 668 women seeking abortions at the hospital, which demonstrates a 5.5 percent failure rate. Math is not my subject and I am not quite sure how exactly all that works out, but it still sounds better than my current preferred form of birth control, i.e. condoms and intermittent panic attacks, so.

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