A new app advises couples trying to get pregnant to wear sexy underwear, buy flowers and plan ahead.
Once upon a time, a doctor might have advised couples keen to start a family on the right night to purchase flowers and break out the silk underwear. But a new app from the co-founder of PayPal helps couples achieve a successful pregnancy by notifying them via their smartphones when they are most likely to conceive, and offering handy tips about buying presents and dressing for the occasion.
The Glow app processes data entered by a woman trying to become pregnant, including details of her menstrual cycle and body temperature, and produces a colour-coded chart that highlights opportune moments in the month for baby-making.
Some may find it odd to take such intimate instructions from their mobile, but billionaire Ukrainian entrepeneur Max Levchin, who co-founded the PayPal digital payment platform in 1998, believes the app gives a novel edge to what can become an "unpleasurable routine" for struggling couples.
"Many of the reasons why people find it difficult, when they’re keeping on the clock, is because it becomes unpleasurable when it’s a routine,” he told technology website All Things D.
Mr Levchin is a father-of-two who conceived his children without difficulties, but was inspired to create the Glow app after hearing about friends' experiences with IVF.
"We have people close to us that have gone through multiple IVF trials," he said, "and we’ve heard them say, ‘We’re not going to put my wife’s body through this anymore.’"
In 2011, almost 14,000 British women became pregnant through IVF, as the average age when women give birth in the West continues to rise and couples who struggle with fertility issues are increasingly able to conceive with artificial help.
The Glow app is still in development, but when launched will be available for iPhone.