There are many ups and downs when trying to conceive. If you immediately get so positive on the pregnancy test – congratulations! However, many couples benefit from extra help in the baby-making section.
The Ava Fertility Tracker is a device that detects the fertile days in your cycle, and takes some of the guesswork out of the process. Here’s more about this tool, how it works, its effectiveness and other things you may want to consider before trying it out for yourself.
The Ava Fertility Tracker is a sensor device – a wristband – that you wear every night during your sleep. It measures certain physiological characteristics, including:
- skin temperature
- pulse rate
- heart rate variability
- breathing rate
- perfusion, or the rate at which blood moves through tissues in the body
As these characteristics change throughout the menstrual cycle, it helps to indicate when ovulation has occurred. For example, body temperature tends to increase after ovulation.
As data is collected month after month, it is used by an application (available for Apple and Android). The idea is that the application’s algorithm can predict over time when ovulation may occur, giving you an accurate fertility window that is unique to your own menstrual cycle.
The tracker and its application is intended to help couples trying to conceive determine their fertile 5-day period when sex is most likely to lead to pregnancy. This tracker is only meant to help couples get pregnant. The company says it may not be used as a contraceptive, meaning it has not been approved to prevent pregnancy.
The bracelet has been tested for cycles ranging from 24 to 35 days. So, if your cycle is shorter or longer than that, it may not be the best choice for you.
It is also not suitable for you if you are wearing a pacemaker as the heart rate data may not be as accurate. Ava may also not be a good match for people who get hives or other allergic reactions with sweat, known as cholinergic urticaria.
Using Ava is relatively easy. You simply put on the bracelet before you plan to go to bed. You sleep with it. Then you sync the bracelet in the mornings when you wake up with the Ava application. All the data is collected through the night and is then executed by the algorithm to create your fertility analysis that is unique to you.
- Once you have your bracelet, download the app and then pair the two so they will work together. The bracelet should be charged for at least 4 hours before the first time you use it.
- You will wear the bracelet on your non-dominant hand and tighten it to the same notch (with one finger width of space) each time you wear it for the most accuracy.
- You can start using the bracelet on any day of your cycle. Just make sure you wear it for at least 4 hours.
- When you wake up, you will sync with your app to see your data.
- As you continue to carry the device cycle after cycle, the data can sharpen and minimize your fertility window.
Ava also allows you to download and print the last 12 months’ data from the application. This can be helpful if you choose to get help from a fertility specialist on your trip.
And once you are pregnant, the app also includes key information to track your baby’s development for the entire 9 months.
First, you need to order your bracelet. You can do this directly on the Ava website.
The cost for the basic package, which includes the tracking bracelet, the application, membership of the online Ava community and free shipping, is $ 279. There are also Plus and Premium packages ($ 309, $ 359) that include an e-book and a full refund if you are not pregnant within 6 to 12 months.
The company does advertise Ava to employers as an alternative to more expensive fertility treatments. So, you might want to check with your employer to see if they partially or completely cover the bracelet.
The bracelet comes with a 1-year warranty. You must be the original purchaser of the device to fulfill the warranty. It covers all hardware and accessories bearing the Ava brand or logo. The company will either refund you for the device, send you a new device or repair your device.
The Ava website cites some interesting statistics:
- More than 75 percent of couples do not know when to have sex to get pregnant.
- Determining sex correctly, presumably by using the bracelet, can double the chances of pregnancy.
- The tracer is more effective than strips that measure a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH), known as LH ovulation tests.
- About 30 percent of “sub-fertile” women who tried their tracker got pregnant with use in just 1 year.
Sounds too good to be true? A small 2021 study on Ava showed that the device is indeed accurate when used to identify both fertile and infertile days in the menstrual cycle.
The researchers studied 205 ovulatory cycles from a sample of 61 eumenorrheic women over the course of 6 months and compared the data of Ava with results of LH strokes. In terms of fertile days, the algorithms were 73.8 to 75.4 percent of the time correct. With respect to infertile days, the algorithms were correct 90.8 to 93.7 percent of the time.
Another small 2021 study suggests that pulse temperature may be more effective than the standard basal body temperature (BBT) method of detecting temperature changes after ovulation. Why? The researchers explain that a single BBT reading cannot compare to the continuous temperature monitoring captured on the wrist overnight. Consequently, this method of detection can lead to better success with getting pregnant.
The Ava bracelet is just one part of a digital health company called Ava Science, Inc., based in San Francisco, California. The Ava Fertility Tracker was launched in 2016. More recently, it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Better Business Bureau gives Ava Science a grade of A- while Trustpilot gives the company a score of 4.0 out of 5. What do people think? Well, the reviews are mixed. The application has a total of several thousand reviews. It gets a 4.3 out of 5 stars in the Apple Store and a 3.7 out of 5 stars on Google Play.
Reviewers share that the device is easier to use as messy ovulation predictor sets and more convenient than remembering to take BBT every day at the same time. Some others say it may have saved them thousands of dollars on fertility treatments. In terms of customer service, positive reviews indicate that the company responds quickly to problems and will replace the strap of the bracelet if it breaks, no questions asked.
However, several people feel that those more old-school methods may be more accurate in their experiences. Some reviewers chose to do both ovulation predictors and the bracelet to compare, and found that their ovulation predictions were down to the application. One woman even predicted her ovulation for a certain day in the application, but a fertility appointment ultrasound showed she would not ovulate for a few more days.
In summary, Ava works very well for some people, but it may not be a solution that works for everyone.
There are a number of other fertility detection applications, birth control applications and fertility awareness methods that you may encounter in your searches.
Flo, for example, is a fertility detection app that allows users to enter information about their cycles. It can detect days of spotting, bleeding, cervical mucus, temperatures and other data. But it does not have a medical device that records any real-time data.
OvuSense is a fertility tracker that only records temperature to use for mapping. If you have typical cycles, you can wear the sensor either under the arm or wrist during sleep. If you have PCOS, you can carry it in the vagina.
How accurate is the Ava Fertility Tracker?
A small 2021 study showed that Ava can be more than 75 percent accurate in determining the most fertile days in the cycle. It can be more than 93 percent accurate to determine the days in your cycle when you are not fertile. A press release from the company indicates that Ava can be up to 89 percent effective in sharpening the 5-day fertile window every month.
How much does the bracelet cost?
The basic package of the Ava bracelet costs $ 279 and includes free shipping. Your employer may or may not cover these costs through fertility coverage, but it’s worth asking. Your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) can be another option to explore.
Which is better, Flo or Ava?
Both Flo and Ava seek to give users a more specific window into which they can have intercourse to get pregnant. Flo relies on self-reported information to predict ovulation. Ava relies on physiological markers of the bracelet. Which one is better really depends on your budget, your cycles (and whether Ava would work for an irregular cycle), and which one you can be consistent to use day after day.
How fast can I get pregnant with Ava?
The National Health Service says having sex every 2 to 3 days through the month, about 84 out of 100 couples will get pregnant within 1 year without the use of any devices. Ava can help determine the best days to have sex, making this process faster. However, successful fertilization is more complicated than the sperm that meets the egg.
That said, when couples have intercourse exactly with their fertile window and ovulation, 38 percent can get pregnant in the first month, 68 percent in 3 months, 81 percent in 6 months and 92 percent after 1 year, according to a
Will all couples find success with Ava?
It is important to point out that Ava has certain limitations. It is meant to help couples determine the best times in the cycle to have sex to get pregnant. If a couple has other fertility issues, including male fertility issues, the tracker may not help much.
About 50,000 couples (and more) became pregnant while using the Ava bracelet. While there are many more factors involved than the bracelet itself, it may be worth a try if you want to discover when your most fertile days are.
If you have been trying to conceive for over 1 year and you are under 35, or if you have been trying for 6 months and you are over 35, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends making an appointment with you doctor to discuss other fertility issues that may be relevant.