The CycleBeads, which consist of 32 beads in three colors, is a fertility awareness-based method that helps plan or prevent pregnancy naturally.
Victoria Jennings, an anthropologist and director of Georgetown's Institute for Reproductive Health, believes women are looking for non-hormonal, non-invasive ways to control their fertility.
She and other researchers at Georgetown University conducted a scientific trial of the beads they call "The Standard Days Method" (SDM) of family planning, reported the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
The trials were conducted on women in Bolivia, Peru and the Philippines for up to 13 menstrual cycles. Researchers discovered that fewer than 5 percent of women using the beads became pregnant compared with about 8 percent of women who become pregnant while consistently using a diaphragm.
The team began their research in 2000, using data from the World Health Association. They assembled a computer model based on cycles of 26 to 32 days. On average, days eight to nineteen were most likely to be fertile days.
Jennings said the beads are catching on around the world, with more than one million users, reported the newspaper. In the United States, there are between 50,000 and 75,000 users.
In addition, there are no side effects and it's inexpensive. Beads sell for about $14 in local pharmacies, reported the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Medicaid covers them in Washington state, and the Seattle/King County health department sells them for about $4.50. Some women even make their own beads.
.- A relatively new method of regulating fertility is catching on around the world. CycleBeads are 95 percent effective and, in themselves, do not conflict with Catholic teachings related to reproduction and fertility.