Obstetrics and gynecology doctor Robert Setton and his team looked into 33 of the most popular free mobile apps and 20 of the most popular websites for fertility tracking. They found that not only did the various platforms give wildly different advice, but that most of it was entirely inaccurate.
The "gold standard" among fertility experts for the highest chances of conception is set as the five days leading up to ovulation -- typically days 10 through 15 of a 28-day cycle. Only 78.8% of apps and 75% of websites accurately reflected this information, and many had longer windows.
For the 6.7 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 with impaired fecundity -- a decreased ability to conceive or sustain pregnancy -- these apps and websites may be doing more harm than good.
"The research by Dr. Setton demonstrates that web-based and app-based resources intended to help couples identify the fertile window are, generally, inaccurate," said Dr. Hal C. Lawrence, chief executive officer of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "Although Dr. Setton did not study the clinical implications of this, it's important for women to know that reliance on these digital platforms may not be effective for them."
In any given month, the chances of getting pregnant for a couple between the ages of 29 to 33 -- even with normally functioning reproductive systems -- are only 20% to 25%. The chances for people struggling with infertility may be much greater.
When it comes to your chances of a successful pregnancy, don't leave your fate up to an app or a website. If you're having trouble conceiving or carrying to term, schedule an appointment with a fertility clinic to have both you and your partner tested for fertility.
Of the 44% of all women with infertility issues who seek out medical assistance, 65% eventually give birth to a child. Once you understand the root of your fertility problems, you can take the corrective steps necessary to achieve your pregnancy goals.