Fertility App Comparison, 2018 Edition

December 18, 2018

iPhone Only Reviews

Okay, so we’re now trying for baby2 for our family, which means…trying all the fertility tracker apps again! If you remember from my original Fertility App Comparison post, trying and reviewing in 2012, I had a clear and strong preference for OvuView for Android. This time, I only have an iPhone, so I wasn’t able to see how OvuView is doing, or try any other droid-only competitors. I’d love to hear droid users’ opinions, but for now all I have to go on is my admittedly outdated OvuView referral.

The rest of this comparison is for the apps available for iPhone. If you want the TL;DR, Fertility Friend is still my clinical recommendation, Lily is my favorite, and if you just want a period tracker, go with Clue!

The Best of the Best

Fertility Friend


Firstly, I must state that I made an error with my previous review of Fertility Friend, wherein I didn’t realize I WAS ALREADY using the premium version on a free trial. Many of the awesome things FF does are in the premium version only. The free version is still a rock star.

It’s not as pretty or smooth or cool as Lily, and it’s kinda pink, but it’s reliable as fuck. My cycles can be tricky to interpret, so I personally like having multiple apps to compare/ validate my own evaluation.

Fertility Friend also acknowledges that some folks do inseminations. They refer to it “intercourse/insemination,” which is so awesome and inclusive! BUT then the chart displays that row of data as “BD,” which in the TTC community is short for “baby dance,” which is a barfy-cute euphemism for sex, presuming cis-hetero sex, of course. So that’s half-inclusive?

As another helpful bonus, they also let you choose to record whether you had sperm exposure as None, Yes, AM, PM, or Both! Which is totally helpful in pinpointing timing.

All in all, still solid. I trust their analysis, which is important.

Lily


I know I was pretty pleased with Lily five years ago, but if it’s possible, I like them even more now. The app itself has been updated repeatedly since I conceived Sibyl, and it’s even easier to use. It’s still attractive and not overly pink, though the icon IS a flower. You can even change the theme color to any color, though the green options are all too bright. You can change it to “dark mode,” which is nice for first thing in the morning. You can set your “default wake time,” which is great for folks who temp early and then chart it later. For instance, I take my temp when my partner’s alarm goes off around 4, but like hell I’m getting up then. Most other apps make me adjust the temp time every day. There’s now a setting where you can change your temp data from 1 to 2 decimals.

One remaining drawback to Lily is that there is no separate option for inseminations–we have to check “intercourse” to track the relevant data. The app asks, “Have you had intercourse today?” which to me sounds like my parent asking if I’ve cleaned my room…

So I wrote them a letter about it! And I heard back quickly and their response was great. You may read my correspondence with Lily if you like. The whole experience made me really appreciate that the developer is willing to hear users and work to improve their experience.

I’m currently using three apps, but my favorite is Lily. <3 I believe that for most people, it would be consistently reliable and don’t hesitate to recommend it, and it handles even my bizarre cycles well the vast majority of the time (many other apps I don’t trust at all). But there are some times where Lily hasn’t been able to correctly identify my ovulation, when FF does. So if you tend toward very inconsistent or difficult-to-interpret cycles, I 100% recommend using both together, or if you only want to use one, go with FF.

The Best of the…Disqualified

Clue


This app is an absolute must on my list not because it’s particularly easy to use or most thorough, because it definitely isn’t—I’ll get to that in a minute—but because of their transparency and intention around inclusivity of gender and ability. Even though it doesn’t meet my criteria for a fertility app, I definitely support what they’re doing and how they’re going about it, and think anyone who just needs a period tracker (NOT trying to achieve or avoid pregnancy) should definitely give Clue a try.

For more specific info, read my in-depth review of Clue.

The “Honorable-Mention”? No, make that “Reluctantly-Mention”

Ovagraph (TCOYF app)


I so love the Taking Charge of Your Fertility BOOK, but the app is ridiculously bad. Their algorithm is broken, and when I brought it to their attention, they defended it. However, it’s the only app that works with the OvaCue fertility monitor, so if you use that, you may consider using this app in conjunction–just make sure you use something else for tracking temps and mucus and other fertility signs.

Feel free to check out my in depth review of Ovagraph.

The Possibly Worth a Look

These two apps make folks identify their OWN peak day and thermal shift, then Groove draws a cover line, whereas Kindara you draw your own as well. This set-up would work for folx who are used to paper charting and want that control. If that’s you, fabulous: consider these. But they will probably be NOT HELPFUL for newbies, or for folx with irregular or inconclusive cycles who just stress over minutiae even as a literal professional (like me).

Groove


I reeeeeeeeeeally wanted to love this app: their icon is an ungendered stick person frolicking on a green background. So the app and the name are totally stealth!
.99/mo after trial period for TTC
Buttons to close help boxes say, “sweet!” & “cool!” which offers some corny fun. I like a company that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
SO easy to add data.

Cons:
No calendar view at all.
No option to record symptoms beyond temp, mucus, cervical position, and “sex.” You can’t even record OPKs! Let alone mittleschmerz, headaches, cramps, etc.
The temperature graph is a BAR graph?! What the hell? The statistician in me could NOT abide this thoroughly inappropriate format choice.
You can only record temp to only one decimal, which is less accurate than two. A minor point though.
Cervical position is one data point vs 3 or 4 independent variables. Again, I’m quibbling a bit.
Calls it sex

Kindara


Used to have insufficient CM options: now has 4 CM types, and one can choose three levels for each one, or a combo!
Optional cervix tracking and vaginal sensation, temp times, choose decimals
There’s an option for inseminations! But it’s listed under Sex.
Don’t like their calendar as much
Customizable variables to track, can add monitors
Premium $4.99/mo or $39.99/yr
Pushes their Bluetooth thermometer

The Probably Not Worth Your Time

The following I didn’t even bother writing up actual paragraphs about, as this article is long enough, and I don’t feel it worth my time. I’m also specifically not linking to these, because I don’t want to endorse them in any way. But maybe you want to try them, if you have the time and for some reason want something different than my preferred options. (Why bother though?)

Bloom

Records mucus, but not temps?
Awkward as fuck

Dot

Only tracks period start date!? No fertility signs at all? Clearly not effective at evaluating fertility.
Works for cycles 20-40d only.

ElaWoman

Problematic language
Uber pink

Flo

Had to add temp—seems to be guessing a lot, not sure if it will switch to averages or symptom-based predictions… seems much more period charty. Clunky. Big button for add bleeding, but smaller button for add anything else. Grammar error in first “health insight.”

Good they let you record BBT and OPKs and cervical mucus, but not cervical height/ openness/ firmness, and if they aren’t USING that information anyway, it’s irrelevant. After I ovulated around d21, still told me to expect bleeding a week later–this confirms that their predictions are based entirely on previous cycle length, not using symptothermal method. Not for folks with longer cycles.

My Fertility

Predicts based on 28d? NOT clinically useful.
Too ancient-looking for me to take it seriously or trust it medically.

Ovia

Disgustingly calls intercourse “kiss and tell,” with options: “I had sex today!” Or “not today”–problematic in general and also not acceptable for folks doing inseminations

OvuSense

I like that the acronym is OS, because I’m a geek like that (the os is the opening to the cervix).
Needs a sensor you have to buy, then put in every night like a tampon AND charges per month?!
Maybe cool but not worth trying unless they (ahem) send me one for free to review

Period Tracker

by Pregniful
Makes me mark “Had fun” when I did an insemination. Gross.

Pink Pad

Awful name and icon
“For women”
Nearly unusable to navigate and enter data.
I didn’t see anywhere to put CM, but got so frustrated I stopped looking.

Sprout

“Intimacy”?! Barf.
Only the trial period is free. And they didn’t even make a joke about “your trial period.” Get it? I’m hilarious.

Temperature

(Logo picture of a uterus and thermometer)
Says “intercourse.” Have to pay to track mucus?! They need a redesign before justifying asking for money.

The Actively Problematic

Glow

Holy hell. I’m disgusted and angry. Firstly, this app was made by a cis dude. Not just any cis dude, Max Levchin, co-founder of Paypal. So I already don’t exactly trust the motives, and was 0% surprised to learn they sell user data to third-party companies. And THEN, I found articles like,
“This Fertility App is a Jackpot for Stalkers,” and “Glow Pregnancy App Exposed Women to Privacy Threats”. Count me the fuck out.

The Flow

Problematic as fuck. Here’s the full review.

My Cycles

This app was clearly designed by someone who never tried to conceive: their icon is their initials, MC. Fine, except for in TTC land–their target audience, mind you–MC generally stands for miscarriage, so it comes off as incredibly insensitive. I imagine it could feel like a painful reminder for the 25%+ of people who have experienced a miscarriage [raises hand], and a jinx for those who haven’t. Every. Time. You open. Their app. Also, this is one of the apps that distastefully try to track “health” in general by combining fertility signs with daily weight checks. In fact, you have to scroll PAST mood and weight to get to any fertility info, every day. Eff that. We do not need your paternalistic fat shaming! It also only graphs mood, weight, temp, and steps, which means you can’t see a chart of all your fertility signs together, which is pretty crucial in evaluation and makes the whole endeavor pointless.

Summary

So if you’re trying to get pregnant, go with Fertility Friend, or double up with Lily like I do, until Clue upgrades their algorithm to actually incorporate cervical fluid. If you’re only looking for a period tracker, I’ll bet there are plenty good options, but I can’t imagine one better than Clue.

Note: I think the thing that makes an app good is OPTIONS. I’d be fine with them allowing folks to chart “intimacy” if we got to choose between that and “inseminations.” It’s ridiculous how many of these apps assume the only way to get pregnant is from sex! One even creepily calls it “had fun.” It seems like a slap in the face to not only queers and intentional single parents, but even the cis straight married women who are using assisted reproductive technology (ART) like inseminations, IUI, or IVF. Options and inclusivity built-in, please.

Tags:

Author Bio: Jasper Moon, CPM LMT (they/ them)

Perinatal care specialist. Spouse and parent. Vegan; drinks a lot of tea. Birthed our kid and also carried a surrogacy. Board game (and generally) geeky. Goat hugger extraordinaire.

Read more about Jay here.