February 25, 2013
To assist with fertility charting, I wanted a great app to make recording and interpreting data easier. I tried a LOT of them, and it occurred to me that someone else might appreciate my insights.
When I had my old phone, a droid something-or-other, I had what I considered the perfect fertility app: OvuView. This app seriously had it all: looks, functionality, ease of use…I couldn’t ask for more. The calendar view lets you see basic patterns of bleeding and fertility. The chart view shows temperature lined up with other fertility signs, like fluid and cervical position, as well as custom cues, like headaches or mittelschmerz. The home screen tells which day of your cycle you’re on, how fertile you might be, and when you can expect to bleed. You can choose which fertility rules you want it to use for calculating. And, what’s that? Oh yeah, it’s FREE. The pro version gives you access to even more features, but even the free version blows all the others out of the water. My only gripe? They don’t make it for my new phone, which happens to be an iPhone. I’m not even going to bother reviewing the other droid apps, although I probably tried them all, because there’s just no point.
I switched to the iPhone for ease of integration with my computer, specifically iCal. And I might get kicked out of the Apple club for saying it, but there are some things I seriously miss about my Android phone. Number one being OvuView. I had expected to just go get it for my new phone, and then the hard part would be transferring my history. Alas, no. They don’t make OvuView for iPhone, and have announced that they don’t have time or money for development on iPhone. So I had to go back to the drawing board, and this time, because there was no stand-out winner, I took notes. Some of my requirements were the ability to record information about cervical fluid and position, viability for those with long and irregular cycles (like me), ease of viewing patterns across cycles, and a stable program with relative ease of use. Pretty is nice, but form follows function, baby.
My favorite, and one of the two apps I ultimately used to get pregnant, is Lily Pro. This app had most of the features I needed, and it’s really pretty. However, it took me for-ev-er to input all my older data because you have to go through and choose the specific date for every day in history. (Some other apps allow you to swipe to the next or previous day, making the process much quicker.) The chart view only shows BBT, cervical fluid and cervical position, which is useful and better than many others, but paled compared with OvuView’s chart showing whatever I told it to. Lily DOES have a place to input information from a fertility monitor or ovulation predictor sticks, which is super awesome for those of us trying to optimize conception. However, they dropped the ball a little bit on single folks and queer families, in that when I did an insemination, I had to record it under “intercourse.” Does my fertility app really need to remind me that I’m not actually getting laid?! Trying to conceive is stressful enough. And for many families, having sex and applying sperm are two completely different things. This complaint is actually common to many of the apps, and for me ended up being less important than functionality. Even though it cost me ($7 currently), Lily was my favorite app. *UPDATE* Lily has recently undergone a complete overhaul. Since I’m already pregnant, I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, but it’s still really pretty.
The other app I used in conjunction with Lily is Fertility Friend. This is a great fertility website offering all sorts of features, like forums and lessons in charting, and they happen to have apps for iPhone and Android. With my droid, I pretty much wrote off Fertility Friend because I was comparing it to OvuView, but it’s one of the strongest contenders for iPhone. Now, especially if you’re also looking at Lily, Fertility Friend is kinda awkward, both aesthetically and functionally. The calendar view counts cycle days and shows bleeding days and intercourse/insemination days. That’s right: FF calls it “intercourse/insemination”! Yay, them! Inputting data is pretty easy, as you can easily move from one day to the next, and you can record all sorts of data, grouped by category. But their chart view doesn’t show any fertility signs other than BBT, which is suboptimal. BBT shows whether you ovulated and when, but does not predict ovulation in advance, so the ability to see cervical fluid patterns is crucial for planning conception (or avoiding it, for that matter). But the thing that totally makes FF awesome is the fertility analyzer tab. I swear I stared at this thing all day when I was in my two-week wait. It tells you which of your most fertile days you intercoursed/inseminated on, and whether your timing was good. THEN, it looks at all the symptoms you’ve reported and compares them to other charts that ended up pregnant and non-pregnant! So darned cool. You can get even better analysis if you want to pay them for their membership. You can probably see why I ended up double-charting using both Lily and FF, but if you only wanted one app that’s free, I’d absolutely recommend Fertility Friend.
The rest of these apps will just be listed alphabetically. Since I deemed them all unacceptable for my purposes, there’s no ranking amongst them. I’m also not linking to them, since I’m not endorsing them. If someone is interested in period tracking without fertility signs, some of these might be great.
There were a few others out there that I didn’t even try because they seemed more like period trackers than fertility charting tools. Hopefully my experimenting can save you a bit of time. Good luck and happy charting!
Perinatal care specialist. Spouse and parent. Vegan; drinks a lot of tea. Hosted three fetuses: our big kid, a surrogacy, and now our second, due around Halloween. Board game (and generally) geeky. Goat hugger extraordinaire.
Read more about Jay here.