Nothing gets my geeky economic-major heart beating faster than reading about “aggregate data analysis.” And when all that aggregate data is being collected in regards to fertility to help women achieve pregnancy? SWOON!
The new Glow app aims to help couples achieve pregnancy by collecting personal data such as cycle lengths, number of days for menstruation, basal-body temperatures, etc. The Glow app collects this data, like many other ‘fertility trackers’, BUT then it does something other programs don’t. It sends your data, along with all the other users data, and AGGREGATES it!
Aggregate data, not a simple average, but a collection and analysis as a whole of disparate sets of information. It also ‘learns’ about your personal information, and based on that and other analyses adapts and offers recommendations.
Why is this so cool? First because this is the potential for a large collection of infertility data to be analysed and looked at for patterns as a whole. Regression Analyses can be done to look for insights to infertility. What types of answers could all this data get us? One potential insight into infertility is why for some people does IUI work, and relatively easily, but for others they have to do IVF? Yes, there are many factors to this answer. But what if a regression analysis is run on all the data and it shows women with cycles that average between 36-40 days have an overwhelming success rate with IUI, but women who average 41-50 day cycles have a much worse outcome with IUI? Could this help us refine what sort of treatments we seek out?
Second, this app also has a buy-in option:
Glow users can choose to contribute $50 a month for up to 10 months to the fund. If they get pregnant during that time, they don’t get their money back. If they don’t, they get a share of the pooled money to use for fertility treatments. Huang says that the company hopes that Glow First will be able to cover the entire cost for such procedures, which can run from $20,000 to $40,000.
As the article mentions, there is another company out there that also collects and aggregates data. But the buy-in option really sets Glow apart. It is an interesting idea, with very few insurance companies offering any, or paltry, infertility coverage, this might be a real option for some people.
Now the downside of this is that this requires full participation by a large number of people over a long period of time. It also requires you to be okay with your personal health information being shared, (anonymously), with other people. It also requires you to be honest as it ask such personal questions as sexual position and the ever popular, cervical mucus description.
Check out the full article here: Glow Iphone App.
Slate magazine also does an excellent write-up of this new app, however it does have a negative slant, check it out here: Glow App, and let us know your take on it.
Do you find this new App and company hopeful or another gimmick?
Would you consider doing the buy-in option?
What do you think about a private company collecting (anonymously) fertility data?
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Chandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She never has a tidy house and she is in constant need of coffee.