By William D Petok, PhD, The American Fertility Association Mental Health Advisory Council
Infertility presents a set of challenges that most of us aren’t anticipating. So it stands to reason, any help you can get with navigating the treatment system can be useful. For those who love their smartphones, eReaders and other mobile devices, the following apps may provide powerful resources you can carry with you, so you have them when you need them. While this list is by no means complete, I’ve highlighted several free or almost free apps here, with the caveat that some may be sponsored by organizations hoping you will utilize their services or purchase their products.
Some Apps are Great for Tracking Your Cycle and Predicting When Your Fertile Window is Present. These Include:
My Cycles (iOS, Free) allows you to track your ovulation signs to increase optimal pregnancy opportunities. It provides tracking of your period, menstrual cycle, symptoms, medications, mood, and more, all related to your cycle. Data can be backed-up online and access is available from any computer. You can also add data online and have it sync with your phone. The app connects you to the MedHelp website and its health forums.
What To Expect: Fertility (iOS, Free) was created by Everyday Health and provides access to the “what to expect when you’re expecting” message boards, which include support from other users and research information. Also a menstruation and fertility tracker, this app has a calendar for tracking your period and displays your most fertile days in a highlighted color. Users report that this app is cleanly designed and simple to use. The access to groups of other users (35+, people in various localities, etc.) allows you to connect with people who have similar situations or who are located near you, potentially expanding your support network. However, if you are a long way into your journey, the site may feel a little too cheery and also offer too many products geared specifically for new parents.
OvuView: Ovulation & Fertility (Android, Free) tracks periods, ovulation and fertility with the symptom-thermal method. This technique combines several methods including temperature, cervical mucus and calendar in a way that signs from one method are used to confirm those of the others and allow a more accurate prediction of fertile times. For a small fee, an upgraded version is available that provides password protection and the ability to email spreadsheet and chart information to your physician. A discussion forum is also available.
For Those Who Are at a More Advanced Stage Of Their Family Building Journey, the Following Apps Can Provide More Sophisticated Information or Function:
myInfertility (iOS, Free) shows all possible infertility treatments and provides an explanation of each. Information about what to expect, including risks and questions to ask, are included. The app assumes you have little or no knowledge about infertility and seeks to provide you with the appropriate information. An app-based community of users is provided as a support network.
Infertility Survival Kit (iOS, Free) provides a “fertility organizer,” a comprehensive directory of resources and infertility terms and information. The directory of resources includes clinics, apps & tools, books, mind-body programs, products and other resources. The organizer provides a location to manage information via a task list, journal and calendar. Color coding for appointments and other categories is customizable and expense tracking can be programmed in. Easy Login access from any computer is possible and custom reports can be created to review with your physician.
Attain Fertility Predictor (iOS, Free) is designed to see the likelihood of having a baby through Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment for 1, 2 and 3 cycles. The app also has a fertility loan calculator, a BMI calculator and will direct you to the Attain Fertility Center closest to you.
IVF (iOS, $0.99) provides a comprehensive collection of articles on infertility and IVF. The app allows the user to search by topic, or browse the collection which deals with fertility medications, assisted reproductive technology, ethics, and other topics of interest. A “save pages” function allows bookmarking with image viewing even without an internet connection. Users can also create folders to organize saved material and search for saved pages. The ability to add notes so you can ask directed questions of your physician is another handy feature of this app.
There are many other apps for both Android and Apple products that have prices ranging from $1.99 to $35. At the higher end, these apps tend to be more technical and directed at physicians. For little or no cost the apps referenced above may help you navigate the medical part of your journey.
This article is provided solely for informational purposes. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The American Fertility Association. The article does not constitute medical, legal, psychological or insurance advice, and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of individual patients or conditions, or as a substitute for consultation with a licensed medical, legal, psychological or insurance professional. The mention of any company, product, service, or therapy in this article does not constitute an endorsement of any kind by The American Fertility Association. The American Fertility Association assumes no responsibility for any injury or damage to persons or property arising out of or related to any use of this article, the use of any apps mentioned herein, or arising out of or related to any errors or omissions. To the extent The American Fertility Association allows this article to be shared or embedded, this article may be used only in a non-commercial manner and may not be edited or altered.
Dr. William Petok is a psychologist in private practice in Baltimore, Maryland and a member of the AFA Board of Directors. He specializes in sexuality, infertility, and marital therapy. For further information, visit www.drpetok.com.