When the app first appeared, it was hailed as a breakthrough and received patented status as a welcome and long-awaited alternative to condoms and hormone-based pills. Now that more evidence that it is not working as intended is pouring in, it has been reported to the Swedish Medical Products Agency by the Södersjukhuset Hospital in Stockholm.
Of the 668 women who applied for abortions due to unwanted pregnancy at Södersjukhuset in Stockholm in the autumn, 37 were using the Natural Cycles app as contraception. The alarming frequency of "accidents" was reported to the Swedish authorities, which endorsed the app with the EU about a year ago.
"It's a new method, and we see a number of unwanted pregnancies, so we're reporting this to the Medical Products Agency," Södersjukhuset midwife Carina Montin told national broadcaster SVT.
"Does pregnancy count as a side-effect?" blogger Camilla Gervide rhetorically asked in a bout of sarcasm against the developers' assurances that the app had no side-effects whatsoever. Gervide also blamed social media for the promotion of the app and called for more responsibility "before the 37 unwanted pregnancies become 370."
The team behind the app suggested that the ladies were being "careless" and failed to follow the instructions correctly, an argument that was dismissed by Montin.
"I do not like calling women 'sloppy'! Young women have many different things in life, and it is quite natural that you do not follow the fairly advanced instructions to the letter. You cannot compare this method with really effective time-tested methods such as the spiral or birth control implants," Montin told the Aftonbladet daily, calling the app a good alternative, but only for those willing to get pregnant.
The Natural Cycles app was developed by Elina Berglund and Raoul Scherwitzl and is the world's first contraceptive application approved by the authorities. The payment service currently has over half a million users. Berglund has a background as a physicist and was part of the team that discovered the Higgs boson in 2013. Swedish entrepreneur and Scandinavia's most popular blogger Isabella Löwengrip, also known as Blondinbella, is also part-owner of the app.
Bara i västvärlden använder 100 miljoner kvinnor p-piller – trots att många av dem mår väldigt dåligt av dem. I vår helgintervju möter du partikelfysikern Elina Berglund som med en kvarts miljard i ryggen har hittat lösningen. https://t.co/u7OajOdZ2Q— Breakit (@breakit_se) December 16, 2017