Is ŌURA x Natural Cycles worth it?

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To use ŌURA x Natural Cycles for ovulation confirmation, you need to either purchase an ŌURA ring or already own one. In addition, both Natural Cycles and ŌURA have monthly membership fees, and according to Natural Cycles, users need to purchase both memberships to use Natural Cycles with ŌURA.

The ŌURA membership costs $5.99/month and the Natural Cycles subscription is $12.99/month. The table below shows the total membership costs (in USD) of ŌURA x Natural Cycles per month and year, not including the ŌURA ring nor the 6 months of ŌURA membership that are free with purchase of a ring.

MembershipMonthly CostAnnual Cost
Natural Cycles$12.99$99.99
ŌURA$5.99$71.88
Total$18.98$171.87

ŌURA doesn’t offer a discount if you pay for the year all at once, but Natural Cycles drops the price to $99.99 if you pay annually, which saves almost $56 versus the monthly payments.

The base model ŌURA ring is $299 plus applicable tax. My last ŌURA was about 2 years old when the battery became unreliable enough that I didn’t want to use it anymore. If we are generous and consider larger ring sizes, let’s assume the battery lasts 3 years (I can’t find any information on ŌURA’s website that states how long the battery is expected to last).

Taking into the account the annual pricing above, ŌURA x Natural Cycles birth control method would cost about $815 or $272/year for 3 years, including the price of the ring. When I first saw these numbers, I became really discouraged, but it works out to about $23/month if you distribute the pre-tax cost of the ring evenly over 3 years. If the ring battery only lasts 2 years, it’s about $34/per month for the duration. (But monthly numbers may not matter that much since users have to pay this all at once to get the savings on the Natural Cycles subscription.)

As a legacy user of ŌURA, I don’t pay the ŌURA membership fee and I received a discount on the first year of the Natural Cycles subscription, so for me it would cost $579 ($16/month) if I can get the ring’s battery to last for 3 years. If it only lasts 2 years, it’s about $24/month.

Another thing to consider is that Natural Cycles has its own hardware team and plans to build their own device, so this partnership with ŌURA may simply be a stopgap until they launch their own wearable at some point.

ŌURA x Natural Cycles vs other fertility apps

Cost is an important factor since $19 per month on top of $299 for the ŌURA ring itself is a significant investment. Below are a few other fertility app subscription prices to compare, in order of highest to lowest cost (appearance on this list does not imply endorsement):

  • Flo = $14.61/month
  • Kindara = $4.99/month or $50/year
  • Clue = $5/month or $30/year (cost varies by region)
  • Read Your Body = $1.99/month or $14.99/year

ŌURA x Natural Cycles is clearly the most expensive, but this isn’t exactly a one-to-one comparison: Of the apps listed above, only Clue has been tested and is approved by the FDA to be used as birth control. In fact, the FDA has begun cracking down on these apps, and some some of them won’t even allow users to indicate that they’re tracking to avoid pregnancy. I went through the Flo onboarding steps (which is annoyingly required to see subscription pricing) and was asked, “Are you pregnant?” For which I was given these responses as the only options: “No, but I want to be,” “No, I’m here to understand my body better,” or “Yes, I am.”

In another context, a monthly payment of $18.98 for ŌURA x Natural Cycles is also more expensive than most major streaming services.

ŌURA x Natural Cycles vs TempDrop

A more direct comparison would probably be TempDrop because it is a similar model: a temperature-measuring device that syncs with an app, but TempDrop is only approved for use to achieve pregnancy, not avoid it. The TempDrop device is $199, making it more economical than the ŌURA ring. And TempDrop users have access to temperatures without the monthly subscription, so that makes TempDrop the cheaper option all around.

The premium version of the TempDrop app provides the following:

  • Fertile window estimates and verification
  • Automatic detection of temperature shift after ovulation
  • Automatic peak day detection
  • Ovulation day indication
  • Sleep data

Overall, TempDrop seems less confident in their algorithm and data, though this could be a side effect of FDA regulations on what they can or cannot say. But as an example, TempDrop describes the ovulation day indication premium feature as simply moving the “ovulation day indication dot” to the day before the temperature shift is recorded once ovulation is verified.

Perhaps this is an oversimplification on their part, but based on their descriptions, none of these features seem worth paying for unless a user has no idea how to chart. But even so, I don’t have a lot of confidence that they’re getting the most out of their data since they don’t actually say they predict or confirm the day of ovulation (according to their documentation, they’re just moving the dot).

In any case, TempDrop’s monthly subscription is optional, but at $4.49/month or $35.99/year, it’s still significantly cheaper than ŌURA x Natural Cycles.

I used TempDrop for less than a full cycle because my skin was irritated by the sensor. I tried everything I could think of, including a new band and cleaning the sensor often, but every morning I woke up with an itchy arm and a red mark in the exact size of the exposed part of the sensor. I gave up and passed it along to a friend. From my brief usage, I had a good experience with temperatures and syncing. If not for my skin reacting to the device, I probably would not be writing this right now.

In closing

Overall, whether ŌURA x Natural Cycles is worth the cost is a very personal choice based on your body, lifestyle, budget, and other circumstances.

As I mentioned, I get the ŌURA membership for free since I’m a legacy user, so I’m only paying for the Natural Cycles subscription at the discounted $80/year (which works out to about $6.67/month) for the first year and then $100/year after that. When I was paying for hormonal birth control pills through my insurance, the co-pay was $10 per month. The cost for ŌURA x Natural Cycles is nearly double that without discounts, but if it works as well as I hope, it’s a solid choice for effective, hormone-free, and low-fuss birth control.

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To learn more about your menstrual cycle and the Symptothermal Method, I recommend Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH. It contains a wealth of knowledge and is basically my bible when it comes to charting. This book changed my life!

Buy Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH

Photo by Natural Cycles

Natural Cycles was the first app in the US to get FDA clearance to be used as natural birth control. So far I’m having a good experience with ŌURA x Natural Cycles.

Get 20% off an annual subscription for Natural Cycles

Photo by Oura

I’ve been using the Oura ring to understand my sleep patterns and how to feel more rested in the morning.

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska