If you're just starting to try to conceive, you might have figured out that, for many women, getting pregnant is harder than it sounds. The stars (well, your eggs) have to align almost magically during a very small window each month, which is something you probably never thought about all of those years you were trying not to have a baby.
Sure, there are ways and plenty of apps that help you to understand your body and this thing called your "fertile window" each month, but it's really not ideal to remember to take your basal body temperature the second your eyes open each morning (the BBT tracking method) or test your pee with ovulation predictor kits (the OPK method) every afternoon. It's 2018 — there's got to be a better, smarter way to monitor your reproductive cycle, right? There is: Ava.
The Ava fertility tracking bracelet is everything you need to help figure out this fertility business easily, with the help of technology. It monitors nine different physiological parameters, all while you sleep. Ava takes care of tracking things like your skin temperature, resting pulse rate, and heart rate variability ratio and uses those millions of data points each night to help you predict your fertile window each month. All of the data syncs to the Ava app each morning, so you'll be able to observe changes in your menstrual phase, sleep, stress, etc. According to the Ava website, the bracelet has been shown to detect an average of 5.3 fertile days per cycle at 89% accuracy. Impressive, right? And it sure beats peeing on yet another cardboard stick.
The woman behind the Ava bracelet is Lea von Bidder, co-founder and CEO of Ava Science, Inc. She started the company in 2016, at the age of 26, and was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 list in 2018 for her impressive accomplishments, including raising $12.3 million in funding to create Ava. She's an inspiring female force in women's healthcare and we can't wait to see what she does next. We asked Lea about the motivation for creating Ava, her plans for the company, and more.
Where did the idea for Ava come from? Why did helping to solve women’s fertility issues matter to you?
Lea von Bidder: The idea for Ava first started with our co-founder Pascal. He and his wife were trying to conceive and were using the temperature method with little success. He realized all existing options for conceiving were imprecise and difficult. He felt there had to be a better way. Personally, I’ve always been passionate about women’s issues, especially as they relate to their health.
What are three things you hope women gain from Ava?
LVB: I hope they gain:
Empowerment – by making better, more informed choices about their health
Insight – into what is actually happening in their bodies and their cycles
Knowledge – we are committed to bringing women along with us on the journey of advancing women’s healthcare
Could you share a favorite Ava story with us?
LVB: The one that stands out the most to me is finding out about the first pregnancy from the Ava bracelet: the first Ava baby! Our Ava community is tight-knit, and we share in everyone’s struggles and triumphs. When the user’s pregnancy test turned positive, she texted us from the bathroom, before she even told her husband. Nine months later, when she went on the have her baby, she was in touch with us at the hospital, sending us updates and selfies.
As an entrepreneur, I always wanted to provide something of value to the world, but I never expected my work to become so intimate and intertwined with so many women’s lives all over the world. It’s an incredible and humbling experience.
Where do you see Ava in the future?
LVB: Our goal is to have Ava become a trusted companion at every stage of a woman’s reproductive life. We’re currently working on evolving our product to include contraception and menopause capabilities to meet that goal.
What have you learned from being a young, female entrepreneur and what advice do you have for other women looking to innovate?
LVB: Confidence is really important. You have to believe in what you stand for and be able to get others to believe in your vision. My advice for anyone starting out is just go for it.
Could you tell us about a time you wanted to throw in the towel but persisted?
LVB: I can honestly say that I’ve never wanted to throw in the towel. Our purpose, our mission, is too important to me to give up.