FEMM aims for data-driven approach to fertility awareness
Christine Rousselle July 27, 2018
For some, the idea of “fertility awareness” can seem daunting- full of charts and confusing formulas. The FEMM Health App seeks to change that, by providing an easier way for women to understand their fertility, and their overall health.
FEMM, which is an acronym meaning “Fertility Education & Medical Management,” describes itself as a “comprehensive women’s health program that teaches women to understand their bodies, and hormonal and other vital signs of health.”
The health app was launched on iOS in 2016. In addition to the app, FEMM offers classes and connections with medical professionals in order to help women better understand their hormonal cycles.
FEMM is a partner of the World Youth Alliance, an NGO that says it is “committed to building free and just societies through a culture of life.”
All women, regardless of age, are able to use the FEMM Health App.
On the app, women can record data about their menstrual cycles, as well as trackable observations about their emotional and physical well-being.
Using the data provided to the app, each cycle will be analyzed via an algorithm. FEMM can then offer predictions for the start of the woman’s next menstrual period or ovulation date, or provide alerts if something appears to be out of the ordinary, such as an abnormally short luteal phase.
Armed with this knowledge, a woman can seek out a FEMM teacher familiar with the app to further sort out any issues, and seek further medical treatment if a problem arises.
“There isn't a single problem that I've encountered in my medical practice that can't be mitigated by using the FEMM work-up,” Dr. Mary Martin, an OB/GYN based in Oklahoma City who works with FEMM, told CNA in an interview.
“So, the best thing about it is for people who don't have as much experience, let's say, in this area, can simply go to the materials and know exactly what to order, and using the treatment algorithms, have treatment success” without having to utilize more invasive techniques or procedures.
While the algorithms prove useful for identifying underlying problems, this information can also be used by couples who are seeking to become pregnant--or for those seeking a natural way to avoid pregnancy without the use of artificial contraceptives.
Martin was rebuff to any skeptics or naysayers who say that using an app to avoid pregnancy is foolish.
"I've wagered my credibility on this," said Martin. "It works. It's based on the science of Billings ovulation method.” The FEMM Health App, she said, makes it even easier for couples to use this technique, as it will remind the woman each day at 8 p.m. to record that day’s observations.
The app also has advantages for those struggling to conceive, said Martin.
"I use the FEMM app as well for my infertile patients, so they can identify the potentially fertile days."
The advantages of FEMM, Martin explained, is that it provides a way for doctors like herself to provide actual diagnoses for issues such as endometriosis or abnormal bleeding. All of these conditions have result from an endocrine issue that must be addressed, but doctors liker herself are “not actually challenged to diagnose the underlying issue.”
“This is a breakthrough.”
Addie Mena contributed to this report.
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