Ladies, does this scene sound familiar? You're lying in bed, or on a beach vacation, or beside your boyfriend or girlfriend, and it hits you: you've forgotten to take your birth control.
Now, this revelation can be cause for panic for many reasons. For one, the obvious, a missed pill or two decreases the effectiveness of the birth control pill you're using. Another reason? If you take the pill to regulate cramps or your period, missing it can put your body into all kinds of disarray. And to top it off, you might get your period if you miss too many — no matter when you got it last.
Jessica Walter, MD, a 28-year-old Michigan resident physician, knows the latter all too well. Even as a doctor, she forgot her pills on a weekend trip, which wasn't fun for her or her fiancé. Though a startling experience, she was inspired to look into the pills she relied on and discovered a scary fact: only half of women take their pills correctly — which, if you don't know, is taking them at the same time every single day.
If not, your effectiveness drops from 99.7 percent to merely 91 percent, which is bad news for the more than 9 million American women who take birth control pills.
"This translates to 270,000 abortions, $5.3 billion dollars in health care costs and more than $700 million in out-of-pocket costs for women every year that could be prevented if we solved this problem," she told A Plus in an interview.
So how do you we solve the problem? Well, Walter took matters into her own hands. She invented a device that, when synced with an app, will help women to remember their birth control every time.
Enter the Oviary. It's comprised of two parts: a physical compartment and an app. The set of pills go into the physical compartment and when synced to an app, will send a text message to the woman or girl if she missed a dose or two. It also will include an educational text on what to do should they miss a pill to get back on track.
Keep reading to see the device ...
Walters plans to retail the Oviary at $89.99. It seems like a lot of money for those that may not have the means, but compared to the average cost of one over-the-counter pack of Plan B, which runs $49.99 (not to mention the hundreds of dollars an abortion could cost), her invention could pay for itself.
But they have to produce them first.
She set up a Kickstarter account to get the word out and raise enough money to send her invention to production. As of the July 7, 2015 launch, she's raised more than $2,100 of her $50,000 goal. She even sees the same technology working as a reminder for people with diabetes needing to take their blood sugar pill or HIV patients. For now, however, women who take the pill are her main concern.
Accidents will always happen, as people will always have sex, but having a reminder will prevent them from happening in the first place.
"For me and my boyfriend, a pregnancy scare is inconvenient," she said. "For these women, unintended pregnancy was devastating. First, pregnancy tests and Plan B are expensive. Many of them couldn't afford it."
Thanks to the Oviary, hundreds of women might not have to.