From data to your heart’s desire

Isn’t that fan­tas­tic? 50,000 women have — vol­un­tar­i­ly — got preg­nant in the last 18 months with the help of an app! At least this is what fer­til­i­ty start­up Ovu­line’s CEO Paris Wal­lace said this week.
The Ovia fer­til­i­ty app has been down­loaded 300,000 times and users are adding 1 mil­lion data points every two and a half days. This makes Ovu­line’s fer­til­i­ty panel the largest in the world.
In the big data world, the more data a com­pa­ny has about users, the more more accu­rate­ly it can pre­dict their behav­ior. In Ovu­line’s case this means, the com­pa­ny helps to guide women through their preg­nan­cy. Users of the app know when they’re fer­tile or, in the case of its new preg­nan­cy and they get instant feed­back (which is some­thing many other quantified-self apps still fail to do). For instance, the app can tell a woman whether her spe­cif­ic ache is nor­mal and what per­cent­age of other women also have it dur­ing this phase of their preg­nan­cy.
Many peo­ple, espe­cial­ly here in Ger­many, are won­der­ing about any pri­va­cy impli­ca­tions of using quantified-self apps. My pret­ty sim­ple take on that is: as long as you are not per­son­al­ly affect­ed; i.e. you talk about doing sth. ‘in the­o­ry’, you miss the case when stress­ing pri­va­cy con­cerns. If you are a woman with a strong desire to have a child, and you can choose between a long and stren­u­ous fer­til­i­ty ther­a­py, or using apps like Ovia, Glow, Clue or Kin­dara — you won’t think twice!
And fer­til­i­ty is just one use case of many. Not being able to get chil­dren is real­ly bad, but being able to pre­vent the next heart attack is even more impor­tant. At this point, let me quote QS co-founder Gary Wolf: “Self-quantifying will become a social respon­si­bil­i­ty.”
Women using a fer­til­i­ty app act autonomous­ly and do not wait for — or have to trust in — exter­nal sup­port by some fer­til­i­ty ther­a­pies. The new par­a­digm of the Quan­ti­fied Self is that the indi­vid­ual can act and change things her­self. It enables human beings to care for them­selves. For me, this is the most impor­tant aspect of QS.
The photo was made on a party with beau­ti­ful kids (and their par­ents).

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