Using technology to track fertility

Advancements in technology have made fertility tracking more accessible than ever before to couples who are trying to get pregnant, but does all of this technology really help? Or does it add stress to what can already be a stressful situation?

According to Rebecca Flyckt, M.D., a fertility expert at Cleveland Clinic, tracking and charting is helpful to a point.

“Sometimes this technology raises more questions than it answers,” said Dr. Flyckt. “I think a lot of couples get really caught up in the aspect of tracking and timing and charting, and that’s certainly part of the equation, but it’s not the whole thing.”

There are several smartphone apps that are available that help track ovulation cycles, including a relatively new app that will analyze a man’s sperm count, as well as the sperm mobility. There are also over-the-counter tests that can be purchased at a pharmacy that will give “at-home” sperm count results.

Dr. Flyckt said she often talks about technology with her patients, because there is so much that is on the market that it can be overwhelming.

She said after trying to get pregnant after six months to a year, or sooner if there is a history of gynecological problems or irregular periods, couples should focus on other potential factors with the help of a professional.

“In a general way, for people who are interested in this kind of thing, it can be reassuring or even helpful,” said Dr. Flyckt. “But I think once a pattern has been established, a lot of talking that we do in the office is about other kinds of tests that we can order to figure out really what’s at the bottom of their infertility.”

Dr. Flyckt said it’s important for couples not to lose the forest for the trees. She said technology may be helpful, but it’s still in the early stages, and while it might be a good place to start, it’s always best to follow up with a professional after doing any tests at home.