On April 15 the CycleBeads Conception Kit hit the market, a novel, scientifically-based tool to help women worldwide naturally plan pregnancy by monitoring their fertility.

Victoria Jennings, PhD, director of the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University Medical Center and co-developer of CycleBeads, told Relaxnews, "CycleBeads were created precisely because they are much easier to use than a standard calendar for the purpose of helping a woman know if she is on a fertile day of her cycle.  Studies showed that women needed a 'familiar reminder' (beads are a feature of most cultures around the world, and thus something that women could easily relate to) and a way to really understand their menstrual cycles."

CycleBeads are simple to use, "effective, side-effect free, and 95% effective", just:
- Move the black marker over the color-coded beads that represent fertile and low fertility days.
- Each day move the ring one bead forward in the direction of the arrow located on the clasp.
*If the ring is on a colored bead, there is a "very low likelihood of pregnancy" and if on the white bead the "probability is high to get pregnant".

Jennings explained, "a clinical trial published in Contraception in 2002 found the use of CycleBeads is more than 95% effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly (that is, when couple either use a condom or don't have sex on the woman's fertile days).  That compares very well with other user-dependent methods, like pills and condoms."

"In terms of conceiving, it is clear from this and other studies that CycleBeads do indeed correctly identify potentially fertile days. Those are the only days conception can occur, so women who have sex on those days are quite likely to get pregnant," said Jennings. 

To find out if CycleBeads is for you, there is a self-screening section on CycleBeads.com based on the "biological criterion for being able to use CycleBeads: the woman should have most of her menstrual cycles between 26 and 32 days long (the menstrual cycle begins on the first day of menstrual bleeding and ends the day before the next bleeding begins)." In addition it is important to identify the method of choice for avoiding pregnancy during white bead days and "the site has some questions to decide whether the method is likely to work well" for you and your partner.

The Deluxe CycleBead Contraception Kit includes a lavender-scented soy candle, fertility journal, two-month supply of folic acid, and CycleBeads in your choice of copper, aqua or mauve with a small bag that is shipped worldwide to Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States for $59.95 (€44.07).

A small price to pay considering fertility treatments can exceed tens of thousand of euros. If you are the type of person that would prefer to chart your ovulation cycle daily on a calendar with the support of an iPhone application try one of these popular apps: Monthly Cycles - Period Calendar (€1.59), BioClock Fertility & Pregnancy (€2.39) and iPeriod Ultimate (also available for the iPad) (€2.39).

To screen yourself for CycleBeads, go to: http://www.cyclebeads.com/screen
Full study, "Efficacy of a new method of family planning: the Standard Days Method": http://www.irh.org/SDM_Implementation/pdfs/PNACQ416.pdf