Having kids is a deeply personal decision for couples. Sure, you may have been encouraged by family members who wanted grandkids, or even by overzealous friends who wanted playmates for their kids, but ultimately, the decision to have children rests with you. The challenge is that having kids isn’t just your decision to make. Despite the best-laid plans, our bodies don’t always comply with our desires. Maybe you’ve met someone who struggled with conception, and they shared their experience with you. Or perhaps you struggled with conceiving and the experience is still vivid in your mind. It can be a deeply personal and difficult situation to cope with when, month after month, you’re unable to have the child that you’ve dreamed of holding.
As a mother myself, I felt the jubilation and the trepidation of trying to conceive a child. When you first decide that having a child is for you if you’re anything like myself and my husband, you picked up books on parenting and pregnancy, and immediately you were mentally six months into the pregnancy before you were even pregnant. It’s such a beautiful time ahead that it’s hard to not get caught up in the moment. Unfortunately, just because you’re ready for a baby, doesn’t mean that your body is right there with you.
When Pregnancy Backfires in Every Possible Way
Back when I was trying to conceive my first child, my husband and I picked up a book by an Evolutionary Anthropologist for an in-depth historical look at pregnancy from an evolutionary perspective. It was illuminating and fascinating, to say the least. But one of the passages that stuck with me most was that (and I’m paraphrasing here), for a successful pregnancy to manifest, a thousand things have to go absolutely perfectly, but for a pregnancy to self-terminate or fail to manifest, only one thing has to go wrong. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when you really think about it.
I’ll save you from a description of everything that can go wrong in biological terms, but suffice to say, a pregnancy can, and often will, go completely wrong or in an unintended direction. Many women spend months or even years attempting to get pregnant, only to be stymied again and again as to why they are unable to conceive. At this point, I have to disagree with some Psychological experts who would assert that women who are unable to conceive are infertile or suffer from “fertility disorder” as is known in some countries. The reasons for temporary infertility are too numerous to mention, and include everything from elevated cortisol levels from stress to ectopic pregnancies and even low sperm motility, to just name a few.
Is There a Solution?
With so many things that can go wrong, is there a way to increase your chances of being pregnant? Sure, but these methods vary in efficacy based on the reasons that you currently are unable to conceive. As it turns out though, there is a new device currently in a test phase that comes together with an app and guidance program and is looking to assist women and their partners with having a successful pregnancy. Called the LARAcompanion, it is intended to reduce stress and pinpoint prime periods for intercourse to maximize the possibility of having a child. The solution by LARAcompanion consists of an app, mHealth programs, and a biometric device that is in development. LARAcompanion is a German startup based in Berlin and is currently in its funding phase.
Juliane Zielonka (CEO), Julia Lazaro (COO), Francis Varga (CTO)
Authors note: Before I launch into product details, I want to put out a note of caution. When I first looked into this product, I did so with extreme skepticism, and while I do appear to like this product, please be sure to research all products, especially those for fertility, to make sure they are right for you before you use them. Ultimately your fertility is your business, and you should make sure you do what is right for you and your spouse.
LARAcompanion works by addressing two of the key problems to a successful pregnancy: ovulation and stress. Believe it or not, stress is one of the key problems with a successful pregnancy. Elevated cortisol levels can result in difficulty conceiving, and it is one of the main areas that LARAcompanion works to address. Whether from finding out that you have been given a diagnosis as infertile or from the general stress of trying to have a baby, stress can affect your biology in a most unfortunate way. By offering a mobile health relaxation course, LARAcompanion seeks to help women lower their stress through daily activities that can be added to everyday life.
It also works to identify key periods when a woman is most likely to conceive through what the development team calls a biomarker device, ‘SAM’, referencing the sympathy adrenal medullary pathway. According to the developers, it works by identifying markers in your body fluid samples, in much the same way that a home ovulation kit works. However, instead of having to input the information yourself and calculate your ovulation, the system will do it for you.
It’s a handy solution, but currently, its sample size for existing research consisted of only 100 women. While they’re branching out now to include far more, LARAcompanion most likely only has a practical application for women seeking to get pregnant in the next few years. Could it help you? Very likely, but the results from additional research won’t be available for some time, although early results are promising. Can I recommend you donate to their cause? Because it’s meant for a deeply personal decision, I won’t advise you either way, but I can say that it does afford you the potential benefits that can help you to become pregnant a little faster.
Photo credit: LARAcompanion