Updated November 20, 2019
What are Wearable Ovulation trackers?
Wearable ovulation trackers are the new kids on the block for timing fertility. Like any other Fitbit type of wearable, they are pretty simple to use: You wear the device all night, dock the device in the morning, and the data the wearable collected overnight while you slept uploads to the app on your phone. The app then analyzes all the uploaded data from that night and other prior nights sleep, works its “proprietary” magic, and tells you via the app if you are nearing your ovulation date and if its baby making time or not.
The appeal of wearable ovulation trackers over traditional LH urine test kits is that they are easy to use, can give you a lot of information about your cycle, and predict a longer fertility window than budget LH urine test kits. Oh, and there is 100% less pee involved with wearables.
Best Wearable: Ava Fertility Bracelet $300
- Predicts nearly your entire fertile window
- Monitors the most physiological parameters affecting fertility
- Good pricing structure
How do Wearables work?
Ovulation wearables work in a couple ways. Most wearables, such as Ovusense, Yono, and Tempdrop use a basal body temperature (BBT) method to predict your ovulation. They are aware that the traditional BBT method of taking an oral temperature when you first wake in the morning is not accurate, so they have the wearable device take your temperature literally hundreds of times per night while you sleep to get a super accurate BBT. Ava fertility bracelet takes a more multifaceted approach than just using BBT and incorporates other physiological signs of ovulation like pulse and respirations in addition to temperature.
In addition to the devices themselves, the apps associated with the wearables play a big part in predicting when you will ovulate. Many of the apps tout having artificial intelligence or machine learning, which are elegant ways of saying that the app itself starts to “learn you,” and gets more and more accurate predicting your fertility window each week and month you use them. I truthfully have no idea if the machine learning actually works or is fancy marketing as no company is willing to share their details (nor would I frankly understand them), but the technology seems to be there; computers have “learned” to do other serisouly cool things like make a realistic phone call and pass a driving exam, so why not ovulation algorithms?
The downside to wearables is that for some people, it takes a month or two of “learning” your body before it truly becomes accurate. During this learning period, some people use LH sticks to bridge the gap. The other obvious downside of wearables is having to pay for them, they are not cheap!
Ava ovulation Tracking Bracelet: Cost: $300.
Ava bracelet is an ovulation tracker you wear on your wrist when you sleep. It looks like an apple watch and a fitbit had a baby. The bracelet works by taking your temperature literally hundreds of times a night like all the other wearables on the list below, but also measures resting pulse rate, breathing rate, heart rate, skin perfusion, movement, and sleep. All of this data is then analyzed by their app that has machine learning, and tells you when it’s baby making time (so very romantic, I know).
Ava wins my “best wearable” for a few reasons. 1) It predicts nearly your entire fertility window with 89% accuracy in real time. That is huge. 2) The device is backed by the most transparent, published research I could find. 3) Fantastic customer service and response each time I contacted them. 4) You actually own the device and are free to give it to a friend (or heck even sell it) when you are done with it 1.
They also win my best wearable because of their Ava Plus 1 year guarantee of pregnancy (don’t forget the fine print people!). Yes, it costs more, and $400 is seriously silly expensive, but a drop in the bucket for what things can cost when you start down the infertility treatment / IVF route. This Ava Plus guarantee option is almost a no-brainer for individuals who might have already been trying to conceive for some time with no success or told their chances of getting pregnant are slim. If you don’t conceive in a year, the bracelet was free, and worst (more like best!) case scenario you are out $400 but are pregnant!
The argument being made against Ava is that it is tracking data that is great to assess overall health, but really has nothing to do with ovulation prediction or your fertility cycle- Its data simply for data’s sake. I will admit to having originally been a skeptic myself, but the deeper I researched, the more apparent that Ava really is connecting all the dots 2, 3 .
There are of course downsides. Ava states that it does not yet work if you have PCOS nor does it work to prevent getting pregnant. Some of the BBT specific wearables like Ovusense and Tempdrop state to work with PCOS and as a birth control option. Ava has the ability to do straight BBT readings like Ovusense and Tempdrop and I suspect going forward Ava will also be able to handle PCOS. For now, stick with Ovuesene or Tempdrop if you have PCOS or are looking to use a fertility monitor as contraception.
|Cost||$129 for 2 months, $300 for 12 months. $17 dollars per month after 12 months.||$150.00||$160 (or more if you want a warranty)|
|What is it||An egg shaped thermometer you insert into your vagina + fertility app.||An ear bud thermometer + fertility app.||A wearable armband thermometer but NO fertility app|
|How it works||You put Ovusense in your vagina before bed, and take it out in the morning (and to have sex...please take it out to have sex) to pair with their app.||You wear the ear bud for at least 5 hours each night, dock the device and upload the data in the morning||Tempdrop really is just a thermometer, there is no app to predict fertility. It takes your temperature every 12 seconds, and in the morning gives you a single basal temperature. You are responsible for taking that temp and uploading it into the fertility app of your choice.|
|Device Claims||-Ovusense provides a 99% accurate full eight day fertile window |
-Ovusense predicts when you will ovulate 24 hours in advance with 96% accuracy.
|-Claims using core temperature more accurate than skin readings.||-Claims with their algorithm your temperature gets more accurate each month.
-OK to use with PCOS and also OK to use for contraception
|Pros||-Can rightfully boast having the best “core” temperature (can’t get much more core than literally inside your body!) |
-Best plug and play wearable if you have PCOS.
-Excellent customer service, very quick replies.
-Has a 6 month money back guarantee if device doesn’t detect ovulation (read the fine print!).
|-Cheapest wearable |
-Comes in multiple colors for those days when you absolutely NEED to coordinate your fertility monitor ear buds with your sleeping socks.
|-Lets YOU do what you want with the data vs telling you what to do.
-No daily charging, it uses coin battery that lasts 6-12 months
-Cheap compared to Ava and Ovusense .
-Excellent customer service, very quick replies
|Cons||-Um, it’s a thing you wear in your vagina all night (which people studied found to be perfectly Ok with! 1 ). |
-Class two medical device (ie potentially “riskier” than all other wearables).
-Does not come with any lubrication! Come on Ovusense, for $300 can’t you throw in some free lube?
|-Not android compatible |
-Might be hard for some to tolerate sleeping with an ear bud in
-Does not detect irregular cycles
-Poor customer service. 4 separate attempts to contact via email (only way to reach them) were not replied to. Every other wearable company had fantastic customer service.
|-You have to figure out what to do with the temperature data the device collects, ie map your own basal body temperature by hand, upload your own data to a 3rd party app, or manually enter it into another fertility app.|
|Overall opinion:||2nd best wearable and might have received best wearable overall if it wasn’t for pricing structure. Even if you pay $300 for the year subscription, you still have to pay $17 dollars a month after that year is up.||Meh. The price is right, but other aspects just don’t seem quite finished yet. The App is still not android compatible and website is kind of scattered. I can’t tell if their app does more than just tell you your temperature like Tempdrop, or actually predicts fertility. |
-Worst in class customer service
|A good, cheapish option for DIY folks that like to try different apps with an accurate basal body temperature reading. Not the device for you if you are looking for something more “plug and play.”|