Swiss Precision Diagnostics, a subsidiary of consumer products giant Procter & Gamble which offers the Clearblue fertility test, has released a new version of its testing device with Bluetooth connectivity and a digital app.
"There are lots of fertility apps and we know women like to use these apps," Dr. Fiona Clancy, scientific and medical affairs director at SPD, told MobiHealthNews. "Unfortunately, there was a publication that came out recently that shows that only 9 percent of those apps actually accurately identify the fertile window for women. The reason for this is they’re obviously based on standardized algorithms. They’re essentially a mathematical prediction often based on cycle length alone. They’re looking at an average woman, and that means for many women it’s not going to be accurate. What this new product does is it combines the accuracy of an ovulation test, where we’re over 99 percent accurate, with the app features, which we know women like."
The Clearblue test is a urinalysis device that consists of a holder and 25 test sticks. It tests the samples for both estrogen and luteinizing hormone to help women who are trying to start a family to identify their most fertile days. Clearblue is the only fertility test on the market which tests both luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen, according to Clancy, which allows it to identify more potentially fertile days than tests which only look at LH.
"There’s three results that [a user] can get," Clancy said. "She can get low fertility, which is shown with a circle, she can get high fertility which is shown as a flashing smiling face, and when it detects the LH surge it will show as a static smiley face on the display. And each of those results can now be uploaded onto the Clearblue app, so not only will she get reminders telling her when to test, she’ll have all that information stored in a single place. There’s opportunities to put extra data into the app such as her period data or when she’s had intercourse. And there’s a page in the app where she can see her cycle history, so she could see one month compared to another month."
The main benefits the app has over the device, which has been on the market since 2013, are that it can help remind users to test regularly and it can store a record of hormone readings.
"If, for example, she’s been using the test for a few months and hasn’t got pregnant, she might want to show that screen to a healthcare professional, who could then see how long her cycles are, whether she’s getting a normal hormonal pattern, does she have an LH surge?" Clancy said. "And then on top of that, if she then inputs her personal data, it can show if she’s having intercourse at the right time."
This isn't the first Procter & Gamble brand to go digital. Vicks, of vapor rub fame, released an app-connected thermometer back in 2015.