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A scoping review of the information provided by fertility smartphone applications

Journal Article


Abstract


  • The growth of smartphone application use across areas of female reproductive health has led to increased interest into their functions and benefits. This scoping review aims to determine the nature and extent of the peer-reviewed literature presented on fertility-based apps, to identify the reliability of the information within the apps, and to determine the ability of this information to educate users. A systematic search of six databases was conducted in April 2020, returning a total of 21,158 records. After duplicate removal, title and abstract screening exclusionary steps, 27 records were reviewed and charted. Records covered a variety of reproductive health themes including contraception, sexual health, and family planning, and used a range of methodologies. The accuracy of fertility information within the apps reported in these studies was variable, but overall there was a lack of depth in the coverage of content in apps. It was common for studies in this review to base fertile window algorithms on stringent cycle length and variability requirements, limiting the applicability of information delivered to users. Furthermore, studies from app affiliates often lacked collaborations with researchers, minimising the potential for fertility knowledge improvements integrated across the suite of female reproductive health apps.

Publication Date


  • 2021

Citation


  • Ford, E. A., Peters, A. E., Roman, S. D., McLaughlin, E. A., Beckett, E. L., & Sutherland, J. M. (2021). A scoping review of the information provided by fertility smartphone applications. Human Fertility. doi:10.1080/14647273.2021.1871784

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85103405552

Abstract


  • The growth of smartphone application use across areas of female reproductive health has led to increased interest into their functions and benefits. This scoping review aims to determine the nature and extent of the peer-reviewed literature presented on fertility-based apps, to identify the reliability of the information within the apps, and to determine the ability of this information to educate users. A systematic search of six databases was conducted in April 2020, returning a total of 21,158 records. After duplicate removal, title and abstract screening exclusionary steps, 27 records were reviewed and charted. Records covered a variety of reproductive health themes including contraception, sexual health, and family planning, and used a range of methodologies. The accuracy of fertility information within the apps reported in these studies was variable, but overall there was a lack of depth in the coverage of content in apps. It was common for studies in this review to base fertile window algorithms on stringent cycle length and variability requirements, limiting the applicability of information delivered to users. Furthermore, studies from app affiliates often lacked collaborations with researchers, minimising the potential for fertility knowledge improvements integrated across the suite of female reproductive health apps.

Publication Date


  • 2021

Citation


  • Ford, E. A., Peters, A. E., Roman, S. D., McLaughlin, E. A., Beckett, E. L., & Sutherland, J. M. (2021). A scoping review of the information provided by fertility smartphone applications. Human Fertility. doi:10.1080/14647273.2021.1871784

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85103405552