Friday, March 8, 2013

CycleProGo-Fertility Charting

I've now had the chance to use three different computer based fertility charting programs.  Since I shared the previous experience with you, I wanted to share this one as well. But first I have to admit that I may be a bit biased in my opinion.  This particular program is put out by the folks at the Couple to Couple League.  Alan and I have been trained in the use of CCL's sympto-thermal based NFP for almost thirteen years.  We have been teaching the method for at least eleven years (I can't remember for sure, I only know that Sean was one when we went to one of the weekend training sessions).  We currently teach CCL classes several times a year and promote the benefits of this method through occasional talks at marriage prep programs a few times a year as well.  So, yes, I am more comfortable with the CCL methodology than I am with other forms of natural family planning or fertility awareness. However, this does not mean that I believe one system of NFP is superior than another or will work for each individual in the same way.  I have and will continue to refer folks to teachers of other methods when doing so is in the best interest of that individual because my goal is to support the overall health and well-being of each couple, not to promote one particular methodology.

CycleProGo is a mobile version of the CyclePro Fertility Charting Software that has been available from CCLI for several years.  As a teaching couple, Alan and I were given to opportunity to use the program before it has been made available to the general public so I guess you could say we are part of that group helping to work all the final kinks out of the system.

What do I love? It's available on Alan's iPod and my Kindle as well as our computers with just one account.  Everything updates at the same time so we can both see any changes entered in by the other person.  It's on the web so my little ones can't take a pen to a paper chart or run off with it on me.  No, that has never happened around here or anything.  The charts you see in the program are exactly like the ones you see in your book of charts so there is nothing new to adjust to.  The program allows you to make changes if you disagree with the chart interpretations and allows you to easily share your chart with your friends or teaching couple for those times when you need another set of eyes to help explain what you are seeing.  Very important to me is that fact that CycleProGo tells you what rules/system they are using to interpret your chart and even allows you to choose which rules to follow.  This is very important to me because only you as a couple know which rules are most appropriate for your unique circumstances.  When I have a serious reason to postpone a pregnancy, I am not comfortable relying on a system that does not share with me how it reaches its conclusions.

I will admit that the program allows you to enter so much information that it was at first a little hard to figure out exactly where everything should go.  It took me about a week to really figure out where everything was within the program.  This was just spending 5 or 10 minutes a day playing around with the program.  I am now much more comfortable with the lay-out of the system and no longer have that problem.  There are spaces to track ovulation tests, mucus observations, basal temperatures, fertility monitor results, medications, illness, weight, and other information. You can also enter information about your previous cycles so that the program is able to use your most up to date information originally recorded elsewhere.  But the program works even if you only enter a few pieces of information.

A big negative to me would be the price. At $5 a month or $35 a year, I must admit that I would not use this program if I did not have access to it for free as an instructor.  Our budget is tight and I just can't justify spending even $5 a month for something that I can do for free using pencil and paper or for free using one of the other free programs out there.  I realize that $5 does not seem like much but sometimes every penny counts and this is one of those items that would simply not make the cut for us because there are so many other options available.

Overall I have to give a positive review to this fertility tracking app.  It gives you just enough help while at the same time allowing you the freedom to make your own changes.  It makes it easy for a couple with a crazy schedule to share fertility information when they can't get together during the day to talk face to face. And will be available for use on all of your devices including windows, mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle products.

For more information and the latest updates, go to CCLI's website or facebook page.

* Although I was given free access to the CycleProGo app, I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions are my own.

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