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Home TECH Tech companies working on contraception face a new landscape after Roe

Tech companies working on contraception face a new landscape after Roe

The detail, founded in 2019, is a review and advice platform where users discuss the side effects and benefits of different types of birth control, and connect users with medical advice and birth control prescriptions. Users can participate in surveys and leave comments, which Lowdown uses in conjunction with medical professionals to provide medically vetted information. Founder Alice Pelton said they’ve seen a 60% increase in US users since the beginning of May. Wade escaped in early May,” Pelton said in an email. After the dobbs decision in July, and US users increased again. Before roe was overturned, the company was already discussing adding reviews of abortion experiences, and says it will likely add them later this year.

Natural Cycles and Clue are both fertility control methods and therefore both recommend using additional birth control methods, such as condoms, on high-risk days. However, they are backed by algorithms and data that should make them more effective for the typical user than simply tracking a period on a calendar would be. For example, Natural Cycles also considers the user’s basal body temperature, which is an indicator of fertility. Starting August 2, users will also be able to measure their temperature with the Oura ring.

Apple also recently announced that its new Apple Watch Series 8 will be able to track temperature changes that can indicate ovulation, though Apple says that these ovulation windows will be retrospective and that the feature is not approved by the FDA for use as a contraceptive. Apple’s data will be encrypted and stored on the devices themselves, making them more secure than apps that share or sell data. This might be more appealing to users who are concerned about period and ovulation tracking data being shared with law enforcement.

Natural Cycles, currently the only FDA-approved birth control and fertility tracking app on the market, claims its effectiveness with typical use is 93%, and Clue says theirs is 92% . However, in recent years, users of Natural Cycles raised questions about its effectiveness after becoming pregnant while using the app (in 2018, the Swedish Medical Products Agency found that the app’s failure rate was in line with the company’s effectiveness rate, but asked Natural Cycles to clarify the risks of pregnancy, which he did.)

Natural Cycles also shares anonymous data with researchers for clinical purposes. studies with the consent of the user. Its in-house research teams work with researchers from institutions, who must sign a data privacy agreement. When Clue sends data to researchers, it’s also anonymized, so no data point can be traced back to an individual person.

However, the security of these data sets is the subject of much scrutiny and concern as states move to criminalize birth control and abortion. Users fear that information about their cycles could be shared with law enforcement. This data could, for example, become evidence of a pregnancy that ended. “Women’s health as a whole has been stigmatized. But now there is the possibility that it will not only be stigmatized, but also criminalized, which creates a big problem in terms of whether users will trust these tech companies with their data. And companies are going to be so interested in getting into this space,” Kraft said.

The Lowdown, Clue and Natural Cycles are based in the EU and therefore follow the strictest privacy and security law in the world, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This means that companies do not have to respond to a subpoena or request from US law enforcement to hand over data, even if the user resides in the US. Users are covered by this law regardless of where they live. live. When the dobbs The decision was leaked in May, Natural Cycles also started working on the development anonymously. In this mode, the company itself could not even identify the user.

The Lowdown makes money by selling doctor consultations and prescriptions, along with selling products to help people with symptoms and side effects. It doesn’t track people’s cycles and doesn’t sell data from their reviews, and while users must sign up with an email address, they can create an anonymous account that doesn’t use their name. Clue and Natural Cycles also said that they do not sell their users’ data and instead make money through subscriptions. Elina Berglund, co-founder and CEO of Natural Cycles, said the company is also working with her legal team on how to keep her data safe. “It’s a new area to navigate, and the laws are still changing. So, we want to be aware from a legal point of view as well,” she said.


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