Popular Swedish Birth Control App Under Fire After 37 Unwanted Pregnancies

A mega popular birth control app has been reported to Swedish authorities after a hospital found 37 cases of unwanted pregnancies among women relying on the app for contraception.

The app, Natural Cycles, works by combining algorithms with the old-fashioned rhythm method. Women input their temperature every morning, then the app assesses their menstrual cycle and informs them when it’s safe to have sex without protection. Like so:

The company was founded by CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) physicist Elina Berglund and her husband, Raoul Scherwitzl. It claims to be 93% effective with typical use, but without many of the unsavoury side-effects of traditional hormonal birth control.

Just last year became the first app to be certified as a contraceptive method in Europe.

But now, the founders have had to go into defence mode after Swedish public broadcaster SVT reported that 37 of the 668 women who sought out abortions at one of Stockholm’s largest hospitals from September to December 2017 were relying on the app for birth control.

The hospital has since reported the app to Sweden’s Medical Products Agency, and Natural Cycles issued a statement saying they’re “responding to each reported case”.

“An unwanted pregnancy is, of course, very unfortunate and we deeply care every time one of our users becomes pregnant unplanned,” the company said.

“As our user base increases, so will the number of unplanned pregnancies coming from Natural Cycles users. This is an arithmetic truth applicable to all contraceptive methods.”

It’s worth noting that a 93% effective rate means 7 out of 100 women using the app could experience an unwanted pregnancy. That’s relatively comparable to the pill (94%) and the birth control shot (also 94%).

The most effective method of birth control (behind abstinence, of course) is the implant with a 99% success rate.