No hormones, no pills and no implants - but does it work?
Fertility monitor brand Daysy got in touch to ask if we’d like to test their product, which claims 99.3% effectiveness at preventing pregnancy without using hormones or pills. There are many things we’ll do on behalf of Gadgette, but risking pregnancy is not one of them! Instead, we’ve agreed to publish a review from Lucy Plummer-Hill, who became an evangelist for the product after buying one online, and later went to work for Daysy so she could spread the word. Here’s her experience in her own words.
Hormonal contraception: you’ve either found a method you love and rave about, or, like me, you’ve never really found something that feels right for you. From loss of interest in sex to extreme emotional breakdowns and even losing my hair, it’s safe to say that synthetic hormones haven’t been my best friends over the years. For women hoping to avoid becoming pregnant, the options handed to us by our GPs aren’t always ideal and they don’t always give us all the options.
At the age of 22 and having tried every hormone under the sun, as well as the copper coil, which — you guessed it — caused an extreme reaction, it looked as though my only options were to either use barrier methods or abstain from sex altogether. Great.
That didn’t sit right with me. How could those be my only choices? Knowing that having children was something I wanted in the faraway future, sterilisation wasn’t an option, even if it were something easily accessible to women under the age of 40. Which it isn’t.
I’d read a lot about technology catching up with this problem and the rise of fertility apps – but for me, this seemed like a dangerous game. How could an app know when I had ovulated?
More and more women are using period tracking apps to decipher when they’re likely to be fertile, but a recent study at Georgetown University School of Medicine tested 95 of them, with only six correctly predicting a woman’s fertile time.
So I was out of options, it seemed. Then one night, I spotted an article about a fertility monitor called Daysy. Rather than guessing when you ovulate, Daysy calculates your fertility status using your daily waking temperature (or Basal Body Temperature) and a sophisticated algorithm developed over 28 years. It sounded too good to be true, but having undergone all the same testing as other birth control methods, this device is certified as 99.3% effective.
[Editor’s note: That means Daysy has a Pearl Rate of 0.7 (if 100 women use a birth control method for a year and one gets pregnant, that’s a Pearl Rate of 1.0). While 99.3% sounds impressive, that’s if monitoring is carried out perfectly – typical use stats put fertility awareness methods at more like 1.8 per 100. By comparison, the hormonal coil has a Pearl Rate of 0.2 in both categories, the copper one is 0.6-0.8, and the pill varies from 0.3 at perfect use to a whopping 9 in typical use. Overall, then, these numbers mean Daysy is roughly as effective as the copper coil. Whether that reassures you or not is up to you.]
Conversely, you can also also use it as a conception calculator if you’re trying to get pregnant, which could come in handy someday.
I showed the website to my boyfriend, who (after seeing the effects of hormonal contraception on my emotional state) was equally as intrigued, and he was actually the one to really convince me to give it a go.
Using body temperature to predict fertility isn’t new – it draws on many of the aspects of the Fertility Awareness Method which relies on both temperature charting as well as meticulously noting bodily signs and symptoms to calculate your own fertility. It’s grown so popular in recent years that the NHS is now providing seminars on the subject due to a rise in the number of women wanting to know how to do it.
The difference with Daysy, however, is that this piece of technology wouldn’t rely on me doing the maths and making the all-important call on when I was at risk of falling pregnant and when I was ‘safe’. Daysy would calculate my data and let me know my status then and there. Figuring it was my last hope anyway, I ordered one.
Using Daysy takes a minute each morning. I take my temperature immediately after waking up and 30 seconds later, it responds with a light. A red light means I’m fertile and should avoid unprotected sex, whereas a green light means I should be safe.
For the first few months, I got mostly red lights as Daysy learns your cycle gradually. My first couple of cycles gave me 18 red days and 10 green. Not a lot of play time. But I stuck at it, and my persistence has paid off. 10 months in, I now get around 8 red lights each cycle (generally 6 days pre-ovulation and a couple afterwards), leaving me with 21 days to go crazy. As you might have guessed, I haven’t got pregnant.
The only drawback I’ve found whilst using Daysy is remembering to take my temperature as soon as I wake up. At first there were many days where I’d spring out of bed to go to the loo, and then remember when it was too late. Now I keep Daysy on my bedside table and it’s gradually become second nature.
It can be hard to let go of the fear that’s drummed into girls from childhood that we’re walking, talking baby-making machines, but using Daysy has shown me that I’m really only fertile for a small portion of each month. My now-husband is also really impressed, not only with how much better I’m feeling but also how easy it is for him to share some of the responsibility with me.
As someone who has never been able to safely and happily use hormonal contraception, this tiny hand-held device has changed everything. I’m 99.3% protected against pregnancy, and I can see all my data at a glance in the app. I loved Daysy so much that a month ago I contacted them and was offered a job, and I’m now training to offer customer service across the UK.
For me, Daysy has been the difference between being an emotional and physical wreck and being calm, happy and feeling like ‘me’. I think as the world has woken up to the effects of what we put into our bodies, the number of women questioning synthetic hormones has also risen – and I’m glad Daysy has made it onto the market. It finally feels like there’s another option for women like me.
To find out more about Daysy, take a look at the website. It doesn’t come cheap, though: 290 Euro, which is about £250. If you want one, you might want to grab it now before Brexit scuppers the price!
All images courtesy of Daysy