Fertility device is a cheaper and noninvasive way to help a couple get pregnant

The big device is the monitor, the smaller the body sensor - the two components of DuoFertility.
The big device is the monitor, the smaller the body sensor - the two components of DuoFertility.
Posted: July 26, 2013

IF EVERYONE'S favorite young royals, Kate and William, used a sophisticated, made-in-Britain fertility tracker to help conceive Prince George of Cambridge, Shamus Husheer isn't telling.

"They'd probably have bought the device under a false name," said the likewise Cambridge (University)-connected co-inventor of DuoFertility, perhaps the most practical piece of wearable, digital health electronics we've stumbled on since, well, forever.

"And of course, even if the royal couple do have it, our confidentiality agreement would prevent us from telling you," added the good doc.

Spawned in the U.K. in 2009, DuoFertility has significantly improved its profile in the past two years. The British pharmacy chain Boots started selling it, and the product was featured on an entrepreneurial TV reality show.

Here in the U.S., where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculates that one in four birth mothers seek help in getting pregnant, DuoFertility recently won the FDA's stamp of approval as a medical device.

But the hardware/software has yet to win support from pharmacy chains or medical-insurance plans. Odd, since the gizmo is totally natural, noninvasive and drug-free. And, at $795 (available directly from duofertility.com/us) with a year of monitoring support, this bundle of joy costs half what patients pay for a cycle of artificial insemination and a tenth of the bill for a round of in-vitro fertilization.

MORE FOR LESS: Ironically, DuoFertility "gives a vastly higher pregnancy rate than artificial insemination, and even matches or exceeds that of IVF," said Husheer, who has a doctorate in instrumental chemistry and has also developed a state-of-the-art, deep-seas/global-warming monitor.

His team of product developers and medical analysts recently threw a baby shower celebrating the "600th happy couple" to reproduce using the product. And as far as the doc can tell, his fertility aid doesn't increase your likelihood for a multiple birth.

ARMED, NOT DANGEROUS: How does DuoFertility work? A coin-sized sensor is comfortably taped under a woman's arm to track her body temperature and movements about 20,000 times in 24 hours. These details are wirelessly sent to an oval-shaped unit that stores and crunches the data to calculate fertility.

For fine-tuned feedback and predictions, the reader connects to a PC and funnels info (and other medical history) to computers at the Cambridge Fertility Center. Over time, a full picture of a woman's cycle is filled in, and the system will automatically predict, several days in advance, the best 42- to 78-hour monthly window for trying to conceive.

"There are, of course, many cases where the data does not perfectly fit any existing model, and so these cases are escalated to our human fertility experts for review, and if necessary, a discussion with the patient or their doctor," added Husheer. In the U.S., for legal reasons, serious news must be funneled through a doctor you chose.


Blog: philly.com/GizmoGuy

Online: ph.ly/Tech

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