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New gadget could help couples get pregnant


pregnant-bellyIt is the subject of countless jokes and sitcom scenes – but knowing the best moment to leap into bed and try for a baby is a serious matter for many couples.

Now help is at hand in the form of a Fitbit-style wristband that the inventors claim can identify when a woman is at her most fertile with almost 90 per cent accuracy.

The Ava device recognises when a woman is about to ovulate by detecting subtle changes in her body, such as resting heart rate and skin temperature.The woman wears it while she sleeps, takes it off in the morning and sends the data to her phone.


Its inventors believe the £199 gadget, which is due to be launched in Britain this week, will take the guesswork out of conception and replace the messy and inconvenient urine-test method that many women use to determine their best time to have sex.

Dubbed the ‘fertility Fitbit’, the Ava looks like a watch.The device monitors nine variables which change slightly throughout the menstrual cycle. These include resting heart rate and skin temperature, which rise as the body prepares to release an egg.

It also measures breathing rate, the length of sleep, and movement during sleep. Individually, each of these signals has limited value in determining if a woman is at her most fertile.

But tracking them together means the wristband can identify this ‘window’ with surprising accuracy.A year-long study of 41 women, carried out at the University Hospital of Zurich in Switzerland, found it was 89 per cent accurate at predicting their most fertile five days of the month, as determined by hormone levels.

Lea von Bidder, 26, president of Swiss-based firm Ava, said trying for a baby could be ‘a very stressful and frustrating experience’ for women. She claimed the Ava would allow them to ‘understand the signs their body is giving them’.

But Professor Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, questioned whether it would help. He said: “Sometimes these sorts of devices can just cause more stress by forcing people to have sex at a particular time, and that’s not really healthy.”

Couples hoping to conceive should simply have lots of sex throughout a woman’s cycle, he added, as ‘fresh’ sperm was best at fertilising the egg.

And he said: “If a woman has a regular cycle, her fertile days are predictable.”A new ‘hands-free’ breast pump is set to revolutionise the way new mothers feed their babies. The invention, which comes complete with Bluetooth wireless technology and its own mobile phone app, collects milk in a pouch that fits inside a maternity bra.

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Professor Adam Balen
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