The field of electronics plays a vital role in designing clinical equipment ranging from a small digital thermometer to complex health monitoring systems. Even critical implantable devices (such as cochlear implants, cardiac pacemakers) rely on electronics for signal conditioning. This series of articles will discuss the electronic design of certain widely used medical devices. This first installment focuses on the design of a fertility monitor. Need for a fertility monitor
A fertility monitor is a small portable device used to monitor the fertility levels of a woman by checking the hormone levels in her body. Because a woman doesn’t have the same level of fertility every day, when a woman wants to get pregnant, she tends to look for a day when the fertility level in her body is at the highest. A fertility monitor test hormone levels to identify when levels are the highest.
Typically, a woman’s menstrual cycle has a duration of 28 days. This overall menstrual cycle has three phases where the peak fertility occurs during a period between the second and the third phases. This period of peak fertility is also known as the ovulation period. Certain hormonal changes during the ovulation period can result in measurable changes like an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH) in urine and an increase in basal body temperature (BBT) (usually one or two days before ovulation).
The following images (see Figure 1 and Figure 2) show how the LH- hormone concentration and the basal body temperature (BBT) are distributed throughout the 28-day cycle period.
Figure 1: LH concentration vs. days Click on image to enlarge
With our current population growth I fail to see how helping more women get pregnant is a benefit. Now if you use it to help women AVOID getting pregnant, we can help lift a lot of people out of poverty.
Just my opinion.
@ EREBUS this is not the case in everywhere.. if you look at places like hongkong/japan/korea/singapore the TFR(total fertility rate) is much lower than the replenishment rate of 2.1. ie..these countries can potentially get wiped off in future. Ofcourse the main reason is social and cultural and not medical. but then, there is a small percentage who will have medical/stress related problems to whom things like this could be helpful.
@EREBUS: Yes, this system can also be used by women who do not want to get pregnant. This can avoid the usage of contraceptive pills which may have some side effects.
@EEWIZ: Thanks for providing this statistical information. This is absolutely correct. I think designing such gadgets would be of great use in those Asian countries.
An interesting view of the presented work, and something actually does work, such methods are used as an alternative to the pill (not LH measurement, temperature). It also has the benefit of reducing the likelihood of birth defects which given the impact on families and the community is another noble cause. Yes we should be reducing the world population (preferably to around 2billion) but if we don't reinvent our economy I'm afraid the outcome may be almost as undesirable.