Have you ever wanted to have a baby, but weren’t quite sure how? Never fear, Max Levchin, cofounder of PayPal and Slide, is using his expertise in processing payments and sharing photos to… climb inside your uterus. That’s right, a man best known for financial transactions and slick slideshows is ready to tell you when it’s time to get busy – and get pregnant.
Levchin’s new app, Glow (designed by a man, made for a woman), uses Big Data on ovulation and successful conception to calculate when you’re most likely to conceive. The effectiveness of the app is based largely on your ability to remember to update it correctly with information like your last period or how your ovaries feel today, which – especially when your ovaries feel crappy – is not always super easy. Adding supplemental information like the texture of your cervical mucus makes the predictions even better, so start feeling for that texture, ladies (but don’t worry, sticking your phone in your vagina for optimal mucus measurements is probably a high priority on the Glow product roadmap).
There are already several fertility tracking apps out there, but this one has the distinction of being created by a dude who’s never struggled to get pregnant. Glow can also do some other super handy stuff that’s very related to reproductive science:
the app might remind a woman on an especially fertile day that it’s a good time to wear nice underwear. Her partner might receive a notification on the same day to bring flowers home.
You know, because getting pregnant is all nice undies and flowers! There’s no emotional frustration, physical fatigue, or infertility issues involved, ever. Other benefits of Glow include that it’s not HIPAA compliant and doesn’t involve your doctor in your fertility tracking system. But at least when the well-designed app and lacy undies don’t work and you go in for medical help, you’ll have a few months of mucus records ready to discuss.
It’s nice that companies are working to bring big data to health, but we need to stay away from the notion that any app, however beautiful and usable, can provide the ultimate solution to any health issue. Bodies are not code and the things they do can’t always be compiled without expert assistance. If you’re healthy and want a little bit of fun guidance from an app (plus those underwear reminders), and a convenient way to track your cycle, Glow might be for you. If you’ve been trying and having some trouble, the app probably isn’t all it’s mucused up to be.
And hey, whenever you wonder if there’s anything good about women, maybe Glow can help remind you of one answer:
Keep glowing, ladies!