Natural Cycles, the company behind the Natural Cycles contraception app, has announced that the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) will be collaborating with the University of Plymouth in the UK to study the views and experiences of people who use or have used the Natural Cycles app in ‘Plan a Pregnancy’ mode.

The research is being referred to as the Freyja study.

Natural Cycles uses an algorithm which is sensitive to subtle patterns in a woman’s cycle and uses these patterns to determine daily fertility. The algorithm analyses changes in basal body temperature, which is known to increase after ovulation.

To use Natural Cycles, a user is required to take their temperature with a basal thermometer first thing in the morning and enter the reading into the app a minimum of five times a week. They must also add the dates on which their period starts and ends each month.

The Natural Cycles algorithm analyses the data which users provide and predicts the fertile window, which can help women to increase their chances of becoming pregnant. This fertile window is around six days per cycle.

While it is possible to conceive after ovulation, for healthy women chances of conceiving increase by 10% if they have intercourse five days before ovulation and their chances can reach up to 33% if they have intercourse on the day of ovulation.

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Natural Cycles said there has been a growing interest in using online and app-based methods to monitor daily fertility and a recent survey of over 1,000 women in the UK found that 35% had used a fertility app at least once a month.

During the Freyja qualitative study, researchers will interview women who use the Natural Cycles app and their partners, to explore their respective experience of using the technology and other fertility awareness-based methods when trying to conceive.

Natural Cycles head of medical affairs Dr Simon Rowland said: “We are delighted to be supporting this independent collaboration between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Plymouth, and we very much look forward to seeing the results.

“At Natural Cycles, our mission is to pioneer women’s health with research and passion, so that every woman is empowered with the knowledge she needs to take charge of her own health. We hope that the insights generated by the Freyja study will help in advancing these efforts and in building our understanding of how the Natural Cycles app can support women who are trying to conceive.”