CYCLEBEADS IMPACT UPDATE: +75,000 Women in Ghana & Kenya Using the CycleBeads App – This High-Tech Birth Control Option is Addressing Unmet Family Planning Need.

Ghana and Kenya in-app surveys indicate that more than 20% of women using the CycleBeads app to prevent pregnancy were not using a contraceptive method prior to using the app.

IMPACT UPDATE (CycleBeads App - Ghana and Kenya)

WASHINGTON, DC, October 19, 2016 – Over 75,000 women in Kenya and Ghana have downloaded the CycleBeads® Android app in the past two months. Approximately half are using the app to prevent pregnancy. In-app surveys indicate that more than 20% of women using the CycleBeads app to prevent pregnancy were not using a contraceptive method prior to using the app.

This high-tech birth control option, which has been undergoing rigorous usability and impact testing, is designed to help women use the Standard Days Method® of family planning. This method is proven +95% effective at preventing pregnancy in large-scale efficacy studies. The CycleBeads app helps a woman identify her fertile days and track that her cycles are in range for using this method. 

See updated media release on CycleBeads impact in Ghana and Kenya.


Posted in: International Family Planning, CycleBeads, Womens Health, Fertility Awareness, Womens Health, Natural Birth Control

NEWS RELEASE: CycleBeads App Helping Women in Africa Prevent or Plan Pregnancy - Over 50,000 Women in Ghana & Kenya Use CycleBeads Android App

CycleBeads App Helping Women in Africa Prevent or Plan Pregnancy - Over 50,000 Women in Ghana & Kenya Use CycleBeads Android App

WASHINGTON, DC, September 28, 2016 – Over 50,000 women in Kenya and Ghana are using the CycleBeads® Android app to prevent pregnancy or plan pregnancy. The app, which has been undergoing rigorous usability and impact testing, is designed to help women use the Standard Days Method® of family planning. The CycleBeads app helps a woman identify her fertile days and track that her cycles are in range for using this method.

“We are thrilled with the impact that this technology is having” says, Leslie Heyer founder of Cycle Technologies. “There is a huge unmet need for family planning options that don’t cause side effects. Providing women with effective, easy to use, natural options, that they can access entirely through a smartphone, can go a long way towards addressing this need.”

In Ghana, 42% of women have an unmet need for family planning while in Kenya, 25% of married women have an unmet need.  In both countries, women cite “side effects” as the number one reason for non-use of contraception according to national health surveys.


The CycleBeads Android app is designed to provide women with an effective family planning option that does not cause side effects. It can be downloaded for free in the Google Marketplace.


More information about CycleBeads is available at:



About Cycle Technologies

Cycle Technologies is a social impact company focused on women’s health. The company’s mission is to prevent unplanned pregnancies and help people have the families that they want when they are ready. Founded in 2002, Cycle Technologies products are available in over 60 countries and apps are available to anyone in the world with a smartphone. Learn more at


Posted in: Birth Control Effectiveness, Natural Birth Control, mHealth, International Family Planning, Womens Health, Research

Are There Different Types of Fertility Apps?

Fertility apps are gaining more and more popularity these days but do you know the different types? Is an app designed to track your period and moods the same as one designed for pregnancy planning and prevention? Is an app that reminds you to take your birth control pill each day the same as one that gives you information about whether or not you're fertile today? Hint: No.

Let us break it down for you. There are three types of “fertility apps”:


  1. Family Planning Apps - Apps that can be used as birth control and for pregnancy planning. These apps are based on one of the few proven family planning methods, including Standard Days Method, TwoDay Method, Sympto-Thermal Method, and Ovulation Method. They require different inputs from users depending on which method is used. There are only a handful of family planning apps. They include: DotCycleBeadsTwoDay Method, and Kindara.

  2. Pregnancy Planning-Only Apps - These apps aim to help you get pregnant. They may or may not use a scientifically proven algorithm or method. These apps tend to use a general rule or proprietary algorithm, but it’s unclear which method is being used. They often include features that address women’s pregnancy planning concerns, i.e. nutritional journals, community forums, etc. They include: OviaGlowand many others. They are often confused with Period Tracking Journals which offer some of the same information.

  3. Period Tracking Journals - Apps that let you track all kinds of information related to your period and menstrual cycle, and which should be used for informational purposes only - though they may be helpful if you are trying to get pregnant. There are hundreds of these and they vary from the basic to the involved. They includePink PadPeriod TrackerClueEve, and HUNDREDS of others.


​So what should you look for in your fertility app? The most important thing is to KNOW YOUR GOAL. If you are looking for an app to help you plan or prevent pregnancy, make sure you know what method it uses and are comfortable with using that method. And make sure it comes from a respected source. 


Where do Cycle Technologies’ apps fit into this? Our goal is to provide women with contraceptive solutions that meet their needs.  All of our apps - Dot, CycleBeads, and TwoDay Method, are family planning apps. They are based on proven, effective family planning methods. These methods are designed to be exceptionally easy to use, which is how they are different than other family planning apps. But we’ll leave that for another post.



Posted in: Contraceptive Options, Fertility Awareness, Natural Birth Control, mHealth, Technology, Womens Health

Meeting Women's Family Planning Needs in India

Women everywhere want contraceptive options that meet their individual needs. Women in India, a nation poised to be the most populous country in the world in the next few years, are no exception. According to national health surveys, 20.5% of Indian women have an unmet need for contraception.

Of those women who have used a contraceptive method, female sterilization is the most common method used with 35.8% of women having used it followed by the "rhythm method" (15.9%), male condoms (13.2%), and withdrawal (9.3%). Clearly women in India need a more comprehensive range of family planning options. But it's not just about offering more options, it's about really understanding their needs and what they want. 

Posted in: International Family Planning, CycleBeads, Womens Health, Birth Control Options, Contraceptive Options, Education

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CycleBeads Android App Launches Initiative in India - Provides Women with a Complete Family Planning Solution via Free Smartphone App


CycleBeads Android App Launches Initiative in India – Provides Women with a Complete Family Planning Solution via Free Smartphone App

Women in India can now prevent pregnancy without side effects using a free smartphone app called CycleBeads®. The CycleBeads Android app is the only period tracker designed for pregnancy prevention as well as planning.  Based on research insights, the app has recently been improved to better meet the needs of Indian women and is now available in Hindi.

“The CycleBeads app addresses many of the reasons women cite for not using contraception – it has no side effects, it allows women to plan ahead for their fertile days, and it is available for free to anyone with a smartphone,” says Leslie Heyer, founder of Cycle Technologies…  READ FULL RELEASE HERE

Posted in: Contraceptive Options, Research, Birth Control Effectiveness, International Family Planning, Fertility Awareness

In Honor of Earth Day: Green Up Your Sex Life With These 4 Reminders


 Ann Mullen Director of Health Education at Cycle Technologies Reminders on how to Green-up your sex life

Having worked with natural birth control methods for the past fourteen years, we know that besides them being viable, effective methods, they appeal to eco-conscientious people and people concerned about which substances they put in their bodies.  And as one thing leads to another (*ahem*), other products associated with our sex lives have come to our attention.  So in recognition of Earth Day, let’s take a peek at some options and raise our sense of responsibility to a new level. Let’s green up our sex lives!

Here are four things to think about for an eco-conscious and body-safe sex life:

1. Condoms

Did you know there was such a thing as vegan condoms? Fair trade? Cruelty free? Yes, indeed, there is a new wave of eco-friendly condom brands now available.  The Swedish brand, RFSU, was the first vegan condom introduced in U.S. and is available through the Ozone Condom Shop.  There are American brands now, too, such as Sustain and Sir Richard’s.  You can purchase through their websites or at select natural products stores.

How are these condoms different than your run-of-the-mill drug-store condom?

  • • They are vegan, not compounded with animal- or dairy by-products (casein), which are common in conventional condoms.  

• They are not tested on animals.

• They are made of rubber from fair trade companies and sustainably harvested sources.


Bonus: most of these companies have a social-good component, in which they partner with or donate to programs in need. (Pictured: Caryn Thompson, O!Zone owner visiting RFSU factory in Sweden.)


Green up your sex life with these reminders

2. Lubes

For goodness sake, be nice to your tender parts! Things to think about when choosing a personal lubricant:

  • • Generally consider water- or aloe-based lubricants.

  • • Keep away from ingredients that may irritate or even cause breakdown of internal linings or encourage yeast infection, such as parabens and petrochemicals.  Glycerin may also not be appropriate for women susceptible to yeast infections.

  • • Oils may be good for external play, but are not intended for vaginal sex or to be used with condoms.

• Silicone lubes are inert and usually hypoallergenic and last longer than water-based lubricants. They may be desired in instances, such as in hot tubs, for anal sex, or for women experiencing dryness due to menopause, but are not intended to be used with condoms or silicone sex toys, and may not be optimal for all women for vaginal sex.


Examples of brands that adhere to eco-friendly standards for ingredients and sustainability: Good Clean Love; Sustain.

(Pictured: Anastasia Harris, Good Clean Love at Natural Products Expo)


3. Sex Toys

• Choose non-porous materials, such as silicone, that do not absorb moisture or harbor germs.

• Cleaning – use mild, natural cleansers that will not leave a harmful residue that could irritate sensitive body parts

4. Post-play Clean Up

• Again, be gentle with yourself.  Choose mild cleansers, not harsh ones like commercial deodorant soaps.  Diva Wash is a good option, originally designed to be used with the silicone Diva Cup, it is also a gentle body wash that can be used on sensitive body parts as well as silicone sex toys.

• If you’re on the go and can’t shower, gentle body wipes are a good alternative.

Examples are the ones from NatraCare or Sustain.

So think about sustainability on Earth Day, and enjoy yourself!   ;-)

(Examples of eco-friendly products for greening up your sex life.)

If you have questions please contact us at


Posted in: Birth Control Cost, Womens Health, Education, Contraceptive Options

CycleBeads - Information Sheet - Plan or Prevent Pregnancy Naturally

CycleBeads - Plan or Prevent Pregnancy (Info Sheet)

 Cycle-Technologies-IRH-USAID-presentation-at-Global Health Mini University Fertility Awareness in the Digital Age.jpg

ICYMI: Fertility Awareness in the Digital Age - Takeaways from Global Health Mini University Conference

In case you missed it, check out the recap of the co-presentation, "Fertility Awareness in the Digital Age" with Cycle Technologies, Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH), and USAID. The informative reproductive health session included a discussion on how technology is changing people's access to fertility awareness information and how they're using this information to meet their reproductive goals.

Image: Victoria Shelus from the Institute for Reproductive Health discusses the importance of accurate fertility awareness information.


Posted in: Fertility Awareness, Contraceptive Options, Education, mHealth, Technology, Research

Fertility Awareness Methods Are Modern Contraceptives According to Global Health Organizations


Global Health: Science and Practice 2016, "Fertility Awareness Methods: Distinctive Modern Contraceptives" 


Couples and individuals have the right to decide when they want to have children - if at all. Today, we have a range of contraceptive options. However, with all the options available to us, globally there are still an estimated 222 million women who have an unmet need for family planning. And although significant strides have been made to fill these gaps, having FULL CHOICE and FULL ACCESS to contraceptives is paramount if we are to achieve FP2020 goals or the Sustainable Development Goals or any other goal for that matter. 



Adding effective, science-based fertility awareness methods to the contraceptive method mix brings new users to family planning and addresses unmet family planning needs. In fact fertility awareness methods can address many of the reasons that women cite for not using contraception even when they don’t want to get pregnant.

But there are those who question whether fertility awareness methods are actually “modern methods”. After all, people have been claiming to use these types of methods for centuries.


In a powerful peer-reviewed commentary, the Office of Population and Reproductive Health of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) laid out their technical position for classifying fertility awareness methods as modern contraceptives.  As described in the position, USAID supports FAMs as modern contraceptives because these methods meet the criteria for a modern contraceptive because they:

1. Are effective at pregnancy prevention,  

2. Are safe,  

3. Are based on a sound understanding of reproductive biology,  

4. Include a defined protocol for correct use, and  

5. Have been tested in appropriately designed studies to assess effectiveness under various conditions.

One last note that the authors point out that we consider a bonus is that fertility awareness methods do not require any clinical intervention. 

If you'd like more information on the topic or would like to learn more about our simple, effective family planning solutions, please visit CycleBeads®, Dot®, and TwoDay Method®.

Posted in: Fertility Awareness, Research, Womens Health, Education, International Family Planning

New EduSeries on Time To Pregnancy: Can You Get Pregnant Faster?

Can a fertility app get you pregnant FASTER? Is infertility the inability to conceive? Should I believe the "hype" around infertility? In this CT EduSeries webinar, fertility researcher, Dr. Richard Fehring answers question on how long it takes to get pregnant, what the reasons are, and whether fertility aids, such as fertility apps and monitors can actually help. Hosted by Cycle Technologies Director of Health Education, Ann Mullen.  
Cycle Tecnologies conducts a series of educational programs for those in the field of reproductive health, family planning, and global health. CT EduSeries events include webinars with health experts, customized virtual trainings for health clinics and the general public, on-site training in the DC metro area, and live trainings at the Cycle Technologies headquarters in Washington, DC. A vision at Cycle Technologies is for all women to be empowered with science-based, family planning solutions that help address unmet need and, we believe that the EduSeries events help inform our audience of timely topics and conversations in these fields.

If you'd like to participate in an upcoming CT EduSeries, please drop us a line, follow us on twitter and like us on facebook

Posted in: Pregnancy, Research, Technology, Education, Womens Health

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