Wanna get pregnant? There's an app for that.
February 17, 2014 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Conversely, it can be assumed the app might be useful as a sexual enhancement tool. Max Levchin, of PayPal fame, has the new app, Glow. There are, of course, with experience and a little thinking out of the box, alternate possibilities for the thing. Competition in Germany is already working on a competitive app, Clue, for women to likewise track their fertility cycle.
posted by chuckiebtoo (27 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I watched because I was interested in hearing how an app like this is different from something like what FertilityFriend offers. It's the same basic info tracking, just taken to the next level with a "score" (20% conception chance today! 75% tomorrow!). I'm not sure if I would find that extra info comforting if I was having trouble conceiving.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:09 PM on February 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

Pfft, ovulation strips are where it's at - my partner's estimation was out a couple of days, we could have been missing the target for a long time without the strips.
posted by smoke at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I came here to pfft, too.
posted by Catblack at 6:19 PM on February 17, 2014 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I don't really see what this does that a half dozen existing apps don't. I worry a little also about people who are trying NOT to conceive relying too much on judgment of an app rather than taking responsibility for really understanding FAM.
posted by juliapangolin at 6:24 PM on February 17, 2014 [5 favorites]

> Competition in Germany is already working on a competitive app, Clue, for women to likewise track their fertility cycle

They're not working on it; it's already out.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:27 PM on February 17, 2014

On the one hand, having more information about your health and body is always good.

On the other hand, Paypal (or its founders) is not my first choice for entrusting with my health information.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:28 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by Kabanos at 6:37 PM on February 17, 2014 [21 favorites]

We ended up using an ovwatch.

I have a pretty high pressure job, but it was nothing compared to when the watch said it was go time.
posted by Dr. Twist at 6:42 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wish I'd had that in the post.
posted by chuckiebtoo at 6:54 PM on February 17, 2014

Paypal (or its founders) is not my first choice for entrusting with my health information.

Yeah, one day you'll wake up and your ovaries will be suddenly be empty and good luck trying to find the customer service number to get anything put back.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:02 PM on February 17, 2014 [18 favorites]

posted by nathancaswell at 7:49 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

My interest in this type of application, as I've seen different ones discussed, pertains to how they can be used to aid women who want to conceive and are or could (most likely should) be public clinic patients.

I know of at least 3 different people, and none of them are me, in my current company who could better speak to the needs of the patients and the clinic staff and how this type of application can benefit not only those in need but the providers as well. I can say a few things, however...

1. The application(s) is(/are) supposed to help both the woman and the medical professional aiding the conception. This is an awesome goal. If it does actually provide useful information on a patient's status, people like us will try to use it to benefit the patient first, but also the social programs we are already supporting. If this could mean more information on who is trying to conceive, it could signal clinic staff to do prenatal exams, perhaps. Or we can provide better estimates on program cost to the administrators. Or it could even be as simple as providing young will-be mothers with extra support options, like nutrition classes or places to find free clothing. OH, GOODNESS! -- maybe they need a free supply of birth control if they are just using an app to try to not be a mother.

2. It may not have been for Glow specifically (although I can't find the link right now), but for one of these things I read that it seeks FDA input and verification (I guess pending FDA requirements) for HIPAA compliance. The FDA absolutely should be involved -- this is digitally stored and shared medical information. The patients must be protected. If the request thing is true, then there ought not be any more worry about information leaks than in a hospital (strong maybe -- I think there are different standards for information storage and physical providers, but hopefully that's old info or something I misunderstand.)

3. It's not like various private companies don't already provide patient services. Having more opportunities to link our work with that of others will provide our patients with more comprehensive and useful information. I wonder what it would be like if they had opportunities to opt-in to this type of resource and receive the relevant information right alongside scheduled visits, benefit balances, etc.

So of course I'm just a tech guy. But if this actually gives anything useful to the patients I'm serving, I think/hope it's nothing but a bonus to what we can already deliver. I also have to hope that as more people get into using an app-for-whatever-that-is that we can work together to make it a better whatever-that-is (but especially for women concerned about having a baby).
posted by timfinnie at 7:53 PM on February 17, 2014

Here's a Slate article about Glow which makes clear that the people running it are morons who have no idea what they're talking about. They're not making a fertility app, they're trying to collect as much data about you and your sex life as possible so they can sell it. Instead of tracking information that's known to be relevant to fertility, they want to track your sexual positions because they're not just morons, they're porny morons.
posted by medusa at 8:22 PM on February 17, 2014 [9 favorites]

So, basically... Glow is like (the defunct) Bedposted?

Which was apparently shut down because hackers were attacking it and trying to steal its data. Surprise, surprise.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:55 PM on February 17, 2014

Actually I'm pretty sure Yahoo bought Dickr a few years back which is why none of my children load anymore.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:17 PM on February 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

On the other hand, Paypal (or its founders) is not my first choice for entrusting with my health information.

Yeah, what have they ever done anyway.
posted by tracert at 9:22 PM on February 17, 2014

23andme combining your DNA with your facebook friends to find the optimal match.
posted by Joe Chip at 9:29 PM on February 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Pretty sure that fertility apps aren't all that new. My girlfriend uses one called Kindara. A quick search shows that there are dozens.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:21 PM on February 17, 2014

CervicalMucusMonitor never really took off.
posted by benzenedream at 10:37 PM on February 17, 2014 [11 favorites]

Every period-tracking app out there has an ovulation feature. Boring. Then there is the fact that women's cycles vary, from person to person, month to month. Many factors contribute to fertility, not just cycles. Assigning a percentage to the chances of getting pregnant is pretty pointless. Unless you're just out to make money, I suppose.
posted by Violet Femme at 5:39 AM on February 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I sync to my girlfriend's period tracker app so I know when to be more careful.
posted by orme at 6:44 AM on February 18, 2014

This seems kind of voyeuristic to me, with limited usefulness. If they really wanted to look at factors influencing fertility they should include men, given that roughly half of all fertility problems are related to the male half of the couple.
posted by TedW at 6:55 AM on February 18, 2014

A little more difficult tracking male fertility on a phone, though. Is there a fap for that?
posted by Devonian at 7:06 AM on February 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

How is babby formed?
posted by norm at 8:12 AM on February 18, 2014

Assuming you wanted to do this "right", as in wanted to do it in a way that was actually useful and effective and not just a period-tracking app with a tweaked UI layer ... what would you have to do?

Could you make some sort of reader device that plugs into the Dock Connector (or headphone jack?) and "reads" fertility test strips? I don't really know how fertility test strips work, but I've seen glucose test strip readers that interface with the iPhone. So maybe do something like that, with the tracking and analysis done on the remote end?

It wouldn't be that much more than automating the sort of spreadsheets and data-analysis that I assume people already do by hand when using the test strips (just as the iPhone glucometer just automates the tracking that a diabetic might do with a traditional meter) but that's a decent enough value add. (I have one of those wifi-enabled scales and even though it does nothing more than record the same data I used to punch into Excel manually, it's pretty slick.) So there's something to be said for just automating the tracking/graphing part.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:04 PM on February 18, 2014

Probably just lots easier to ramp up sexual activity if trying to achieve pregnancy, or getting really good at the rhythm method if not.
posted by chuckiebtoo at 6:09 PM on February 18, 2014

No, that isn't easier. If you don't want to turn sex into a chore, you don't want to feel like you have to have sex and it's good to know when you should prioritize (so you can relax and have spontaneous sex the rest of your cycle). And "the rhythm method" is an old-fashioned term for exactly what apps like this are supposed to help you "get good at" -- knowing when you're fertile.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:13 AM on February 19, 2014

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