We hear “technology” and think about our smart phones or the latest computer program. What don’t we think of? Reproductive health. Cycle Technologies is a social impact company that uses technology, like smartphone apps, to create effective and accessible family planning tools. Their products have been used by six million people around the world, resulting in millions of planned or prevented pregnancies. AdvantEdge Workspaces sat down with the founder (and our client), Leslie Heyer, to discuss family planning, where the field is going and how Cycle Technologies is making an impact here and abroad.
CycleBeadsⓇ started it all- when Heyer came across the product, it was in the patent stages. The beads are a physical product that wom
en use to track their menstrual cycles. Based on the day of the cycle, the user can see if it is a high or low fertility day. She then makes an informed decision if she wants to have intercourse, abstain or use an additional type of birth control, like a condom. The CycleBeads technology now includes a CycleBeads app, making it more accessible to millions of women worldwide. Dynamic Optimal Training (DOT) is Cycle Technologies’ newest product. Differing from the CycleBeads technology, the DOT app accounts for more variation in a menstrual cycle and lets a user know her individual risk for pregnancy, which is helpful for women who have longer or shorter cycles. DOT’s addition is just another part of Cycle Technologies mission to bring easy and effective family planning to all women.
Cycle Technologies’ impact extends across the world to developing countries in Southeast Asia and Africa. According to their research, the majority of app users in these regions had not used any form of contraceptive at least three months prior to using the app. The company fills a need in the world of reproductive health and contraception. They work with NGOs and local ministries of health to coordinate the distribution of the physical beads and to promote the apps. Their products have a profound impact on the women using them. They empower users to take full control of their reproductive health. While there may be barriers to other contraceptives, the apps are something women can easily use that is free from cultural stigmas, geographic barriers, input from the government and insurance providers.
Cycle Technologies’ products provide another platform for women to have access to family planning tools. The company’s goal is not to convert people away from hormonal birth control products, but rather to provide women with contraceptive options and specifically to provide them with free contraceptive options that don’t cause side effects. In a time where many women are concerned about changes in access to healthcare and birth control, fertility tracking apps will remain an important resource for women to use. When asked about the impact of the current Administration, Heyer remains optimistic that all forms of birth control will stay available to women- despite a recently leaked memo showing plans to advocate for fertility awareness as a replacement for other forms of birth control. This idea contradicts Cycle Technologies’ mission and makes their fight for reproductive justice even more important.
Fertility planning is one of many options for women to prevent or plan pregnancies. “The best birth control method is the one a woman chooses herself, and will use consistently,” says Heyer, who emphasized the importance of the individual when choosing the right tool. She and her team change lives by helping women reclaim their reproductive rights. Many women still feel a stigma around needing birth control and face many obstacles to obtain traditional methods. CycleBeads and the DOT app are breaking down those barriers and teaching women that they can have full control of their bodies and it won’t come at a price. Cycle Technologies will continue to evolve and fill the gaps in birth control with accessible family planning options. At AdvantEdge, we are happy to support and serve a client that is committed to empowering women and fighting for reproductive rights!