Glow: using the iPhone and big data to help would-be parents make babies

Glow: using the iPhone and big data to help would-be parents make babies

Summary: This app may be a boon to people who want kids but are anxious about being able to conceive.


How badly do you want a baby? Are you willing to put up with intrusive questions? Are you willing to subject yourself to uncomfortable tests? Are you willing to tell all to your iPhone?

If you answered "Yes" to all of these questions, you may be ready for Glow, a new app that's free on the app store, but backed by six million real dollars from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, and Yuri Milner, as reported in Venture Beat. The app's godfather is former PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, who contributed a million bucks of his own money as a baby gift to help birth the app.

There are two things about this app that caught my attention (in addition to the $6 million funding round).

First, the moms-to-be are expected to provide a bassinet full of data to the app, including level of emotional discomfort, weight, morning temperature, a cervical mucus check, and basal body temperature (your lowest body temperature, which is best measured first thing after you wake up for the day). For those of you guys out there like my husband who are a little faint of heart about "lady things," think of it as collecting data points and you'll be fine.

The second thing that caught my eye about this app is the "big data approach" to the app that Levchin discussed at Mixpanel last month. In addition to gathering data for use by an expectant mother, presumably all that information will be aggregated into a big central database that might be later mined for useful observations.

While planetary population is an issue of ongoing concern, and a childfree life is a perfectly valid choice, this app may be a boon to people wishing for kids but unable to conceive.

Here's a demo of the app, courtesy of TechCrunch and YouTube:

Topics: Health, Big Data, Mobility


Denise Amrich is a Registered Nurse, the health care advisor for the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, and a mentor for the Virtual Campus at Florida's Brevard Community College.

Nothing in this article is meant to be a substitute for medical advice, and shouldn't be considered as such. If you are in need of medical help, please see your doctor.

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  • "and a childfree life is a perfectly valid choice"

    I'm having serious issues with this statement.. I'm sure it wasn't the intent, but it really comes across as if not having children (or having just one) requires an 'Ok *pats your head* If you're one of *those* we can tolerate it. *smiles condescendingly*' response.

    Overpopulation isn't hypothetical. It's simple math. Most of the problems we're experiencing world-wide stem directly or indirectly from having too many people on the planet. (Or to flip the argument around: there's tons of immediate benefits in reducing the population level and very few benefits in increasing it further).

    Maybe we need more apps that help us *avoid* getting pregnant rather then ones that try to improve the odds.
    The Werewolf!
  • Unplug to get plugged in

    Not to sound flippant (as it took my wife and I about 5 years to conceive our first child and another 4 for the second), but does it not seem that the people in the world who are not busy reading webpages, tracking social statuses and watching online videos, are the ones for whom conception seems like a non-issue? I'm sure this program will be helpful for some couples, but diving deeper into technological dependence could just become another barrier to conception.

    Perhaps instead of finding the ideal moment to thread the needle for a calculated result, why not just fling the window wide open? (if that sounds ambiguous, the direct translation is: if you've got lots of time on your hands then intercourse as often as you feel like it, or when there's nothing else to do).