Getting pregnant is not always as easy as our sex education teachers promised it would be. It can be stressful, frustrating, and heart wrenching. One of the key factors to a successful conception is timing intercourse during the woman’s fertile window – a period of time that includes the five days prior to ovulation and up to 24 hours after ovulation. In order for a woman to determine her fertile window, she needs to be able to pinpoint when she ovulates. Although many signs and symptoms can indicate ovulation, such as cervical mucus changes and breast tenderness, Basal Body Temperature (BBT) charting remains one of the most scientifically proven and frequently used methods to estimate ovulation. BBT is the lowest temperature that the body reaches when it is resting, usually after several hours of sleep. This physiological parameter correlates to the hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle, and surges about 0.5 to 1 degree Fahrenheit after ovulation occurs, producing what is a called a biphasic pattern.
To measure BBT, a woman typically uses a special thermometer to measure her body temperature at the same time every morning before getting out of bed. This task is obviously not impossible but can be challenging and unreliable due to inconsistencies in measurement or user error. Fortunately, the last few years have brought a wave of new, smart, wearable fertility trackers that are able to monitor a user’s BBT and simplify menstrual cycle tracking. One such tracker is the iFertracker, a wearable thermometer that attaches directly to the user’s body to continuously measure core body temperature every night during sleep. iFertracker simultaneously calculates and charts the user’s BBT and predicts her fertile window, ultimately offering a fertility tracking method that helps users learn more about their bodies and get pregnant faster. Moreover, knowing the best time to try to get pregnant inversely allows you to know the best time not to try! Or to at least use extra protection during such periods if pregnancy is not desired.
We at Medgadget were given an iFertracker to trial, and my sister-in-law opted to test the device for us. Here is our review of this product, based on her experience:
Packaging and Set up:
iFertracker comes beautifully packaged in a clear display case that looks as though it is housing a trophy, which is actually the device itself. The box includes the iFertracker wearable thermometer, two CR2025 batteries (one that serves as a spare battery and each battery is predicted to last 45-60 days), a battery replacement tool, and 150 double-sided, single-use adhesive patches.
As expected, iFertracker setup was easy and straightforward. To begin using it, the user simply downloads the free app to an Android or iOS mobile device and inputs her basic biometrics and menstrual cycle information. The iFertracker automatically powers on when it senses body heat. A small blue light on the device then begins blinking, which indicates Bluetooth capabilities are enabled, and the iFertracker is now ready to connect to the user’s mobile device. After this initial connection, your specific iFertracker will automatically recognize your mobile device and simultaneously connect to it whenever the app is opened.
To use iFertracker, the user places a new, double-sided adhesive patch on the oblong wearable thermometer, which my sister-in-law reports is a very simple process. The user then adheres the device to her armpit. For obvious reasons, shaving is recommended before donning the device. As mentioned above, iFertracker will automatically turn on when exposed to the user’s body heat. The user then simply goes to bed as usual. Upon waking up the next morning, she removes the device and sets it aside. As soon as the user opens the iFertracker app, the device will simultaneously sync to it and start downloading the temperature readings collected overnight. A minimum of four hours of data collection is required, and it takes 45-60 seconds to fully upload the data and calculate the BBT.
In the event that Internet connectivity is unavailable or the user didn’t have the chance to open her app that day, the device itself is still able to store up to 10 nights of data, and will back this data up once it is connected to the app.
iFertracker’s wearable thermometer is small, slim, and lightweight. My sister-in-law reports that she wore the device below the crease of her armpit, and after several nights she barely noticed that she was wearing it. She never encountered any issues with the device falling off during the night, but she did experience minor discomfort with taking the patch off in the morning, given the strong adherence of the patches and the sensitivity of the location site (armpit). The patches did not leave any residue on her skin. However, she did notice some mild skin irritation and discoloration after a few days of use. It is recommended that the user alternate between the two armpits to mitigate this issue. My sister-in-law reports that she would typically wear the device on one side for about 3 days before changing to the other side, which may have increased her skin irritation.
iFertracker can only capture the user’s core body temperature. It utilizes other information inputted by the user into the app to better predict ovulation date and the fertile window. iFertracker’s sensor is capable of measuring subtle changes in core body temperature, accurately measuring changes as small as 1/100th of a degree Fahrenheit. Since the thermometer sensor adheres directly to the user’s armpit, it prevents any loss of contact to the skin, ensuring that the device is able to continuously and accurately measure core body temperature. iFertracker captures the body’s temperature every few seconds, collecting more than 20,000 data points over one night. These data points are eventually transferred to the cloud, and an advanced algorithm is used to calculate the user’s BBT. This algorithm utilizes ambient compensation technology to single out irregularities in the date to limit environmental thermal impact and improve accuracy.
The iFertracker app is user friendly and presents the collected data in an easy-to-understand color-coded line graph, clearly outlining menstrual cycle’s different phases: follicular and luteal phases, the fertile window, and ovulation day. The home screen displays last night’s BBT, informs the user about her fertility possibility and days until ovulation. The app also allows the user to input relevant event such as cervical mucus, mood, sexual activity, etc.
Since iFertracker harnesses data collected from earlier cycles, the longer a user utilizes iFertracker, the better it is able to predict ovulation and identify her fertile window.
One complaint about the iFertracker app is that my sister-in-law discovered she had to turn off her mobile device’s Bluetooth or close out of the app before putting on the device at night in order for iFertracker to calculate a BBT. If Bluetooth is kept on overnight and the app is still open, whenever she tries to sync the device in the morning the iFertracker app will fail to calculate her BBT. She has conquered this issue by closing out of the app before bed and re-opening it before uploading the data in the morning.
iFertracker retails for $109 (at Amazon or directly from Raiing Medical), which is definitely more expensive than your typical BBT thermometers. However, its cost is significantly below the price point of some of the other smart, wearable fertility trackers, such as the Ava bracelet that is priced at $249.
Although some aspects of the iFertracker could use a few improvement, such as its adhesive patches and smartphone app, we still believe iFertracker is a convenient, accurate, easy-to-use, and reliable way to track one’s BBT and predict ovulation.