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CycleBeads: A Visual Aid to Help Women Manage Their Fertility

by Kamal Salar

Here is an exciting news for women who are willing to adopt a natural way of family planning method. ‘Georgetown University Medical Center’s Institute for Reproductive Health’ claims that more than half a million women around the world, including an estimated 50,000 in the United States, use natural family planning methods developed by them. They have developed “CycleBeads”, a visual aid to help women manage their fertility to plan or prevent pregnancy.

The company “Cycle Technologies” has introduced “CycleBeads”, available in a deluxe man-made cats-eye version in three colours. Victoria Jennings, Director of the ‘Institute for Reproductive Health’ and co-developer of ‘CycleBeads’ says that there is a growing interest in the United States in effective, easy-to-use natural family planning. It is a string of 32 colour-coded beads, a reddish bead representing the first day of a woman’s cycle, the coloured beads stand for the days when the pregnancy is unlikely and the while beads for the days when unprotected sex could lead to pregnancy.

“CycleBeads” is a method of moving a black ring over a series of colour-coded beads that represent her fertile and low fertility days. The method is simple. Women with regular menstrual cycles lasting 26-32 days can prevent pregnancy by avoiding unprotected intercourse on days eight through 19.

This provides an excellent mechanism to women understand how their bodies work and their fertility cycle well. The chance of failure gets lesser as the women start understanding the cycle well. The health hazards associated with this are also low as the user never puts anything foreign into her body.

To avoid pregnancy, women can either go for protected sex or avoid on the fertile days. On the other hand, if a woman does want to get pregnant, these are the days when chances of her conceiving are the largest. So this method also provides an easy way of family planning. Evidence suggests that 20% of women are unsuccessful in conceiving simply because they do not know when during their fertility period, chances of pregnancy is most likely.

Owing to its easy use and lack of side effects, this may appeal to couples who haven’t been able to adopt any method till now or rely more on a traditional method and those who are reluctant to adopt any method due to past experiences and discomforts associated with all the popular methods.  It can come up as real alternative to the existing methods, in terms of safety, cost-effectiveness and accessibility.

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