Swedish contraception app reported after dozens fall pregnant

Swedish contraception app reported after dozens fall pregnant
Photo: Natural Cycles
A Swedish contraception app has been reported to authorities after 37 users got pregnant and had abortions.

The report was made after the Södersjukhuset hospital in Stockholm performed the abortions for the women, all of whom had been using Swedish-Swiss contraceptive app Natural Cycles. 

Users of NaturalCycles take their temperature in bed each morning before getting up, data which is used to predict fertile days, presenting the user with ‘red days' and ‘green days' for safety of sexual activity, with 93 percent efficacy with typical use.

But after the single hospital found that almost 40 women had fallen pregnant – during a four-month period at the end of 2017 – it decided to report the app to the Swedish Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket). 

“It's a new method and we are seeing a number of unwanted pregnancies, so we're reporting this to the the agency,” Södersjukhuset midwife Carina Montin told the Siren news agency.

A gynachologist at Karolinksa Institute, Lena Marions, said that young people shouldn’t be trusted to use an app for contraception. 

“(The app) works by saying ‘You can’t have sex now’, but young people don’t function like that. They don’t abstain from having sex just because there’s a red light,” she told the TT news agency. 

In a statement sent to The Local, Natural Cycles said all contraceptive devices came with risks.

“No contraception is 100 percent and unwanted pregnancies is an unfortunate risk with any contraception. Natural Cycles has a Pearl Index of 7, which means it is 93 percent effective at typical use.

It added that studies had repeatedly shown the app had “a high level of effectiveness similar to methods that require a daily routine”.

The company added that it was not involved in the Swedish studies into the unwanted pregnancies.

“However, we understand that it sounds alarming, but when Natural Cycles’ user base increases, naturally so will the amount of unwanted pregnancies coming from users using us, just as it would do with any kind of new contraception.

The company stressed that the app was only for over-18s. 

“We don’t think it’s helpful to fuel the fear of contraception by scaring the public with abortion news – there is already a fear of hormones and if doctors or the general media add a fear of new types of certified contraception, which are clinically proven to be effective, there is really not much left to choose from. Our goal is to increase contraceptive choice so that all women find a suitable method of contraception.”

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Over 600,000 women around the world use the app, according to its official site.