Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Bracelet helps women detect fertility window

Steve Rogerson
September 14, 2016

Ava, a medical technology company focused on women’s reproductive health, has launched its first product, a fertility tracking bracelet for detecting a woman’s fertile window.
The device identifies the fertile days during a woman’s cycle in real time. Since the bracelet sensors collect data continuously throughout the night, it accurately detects in advance an average of at least five fertile days per cycle without the hassle, messiness and invasiveness of other methods such as ovulation sticks and BBT thermometers.
A user wears the bracelet while sleeping and syncs it with the Ava app in the morning.
An FDA-approved Class One medical device, the bracelet was proven in a recently concluded clinical study at the University Hospital of Zurich to detect an average of 5.3 fertile days per cycle with 89 per cent accuracy. The year-long study was conducted under the leadership of Brigitte Leeners, an expert on the mathematical modelling of menstrual cycles. Results will be published in a medical journal later this year.
“Women spend so much time and emotional energy trying to accurately track their cycles, often using multiple methods in tandem,” said Leeners. “Timing intercourse around ovulation is critical for conceiving, but the current options for doing so are inadequate. We’re long overdue for a device like Ava that detects the fertile window precisely and easily.”
Each night, Ava’s sensors collect three million data points around physiological parameters including pulse rate, breathing rate, sleep quality, heart rate variability and temperature that correlate with the rise in reproductive hormones estradiol and progesterone. With this information, it can detect a woman’s entire fertile window.
“After a lifetime spent trying to avoid pregnancy, couples who begin trying to conceive often don’t realise how difficult it can be to get pregnant,” said Swiss company Ava Science’s CEO and co-founder Lea von Bidder. “For most women, there are only about six days per month where there is any possibility of conceiving, and only three days per month where it is likely. Even under the most favourable conditions – a young, healthy couple having frequent unprotected intercourse – there is only about a 25 per cent chance of getting pregnant in a given month.”
According to most experts, for many couples the odds are even lower.
“Even if you’re tracking your periods to try to optimise your timing for conception, only about 30 per cent of women have fertile windows that fall entirely within the time that clinical guidelines predict,” said von Bidder. “That’s why an accurate, reliable way to detect the full fertile window is such a breakthrough. Ava can cut the time it takes to get pregnant in half.”
Founded in Switzerland in 2014 by leaders in wearable technology, women’s health and data science, Ava is a medical technology company dedicated to bringing innovation to women’s reproductive health. The bracelet is the company’s first consumer product.
The company is planning further clinical studies to refine its algorithms for use in both pregnancy recognition, pregnancy monitoring and possible use as a non-hormonal contraceptive device.
Backed by $2.6m in funding, Ava’s US headquarters are in San Francisco.