Reproductive health tracking has gotten better in recent years, but fertility tech in general still has a long way to go. While some, like the Ava tracker, conduct clinical studies to better predict fertile windows, others have spectacularly dropped the ball. Last year, Ovia, a popular pregnancy tracking app, was found to have handed over intimate, private data to users’ employers. Another fertility app, Femm, was found to have been funded by anti-abortion campaigns.


There are, of course, questions with regard to privacy. HIPAA doesn’t cover user-generated data on wearables or health apps, and technically speaking, private companies don’t have to disclose exactly which third-party advertisers might see your aggregated health data. Gizmodo reached out to Garmin about how its specific privacy policy with regard to this pregnancy feature, and was directed to Garmin’s official privacy policy as well as its Garmin Connect privacy policy. In the latter, Garmin states that it doesn’t sell personal data with any third parties, but that it may share it internally, with service providers (such as order fulfillment), and law enforcement. It also notes that anonymized activity data may be shared with “strategic partners and other third parties.” This is a fairly typical policy for your average wearable maker but may not assuage the most privacy-minded among us.

Still, it’s nice to see that Garmin is thinking proactively with regard to how wearables might better help people track their reproductive health beyond menstrual cycles. While wearables burst onto the scene as early as 2011 and 2012, it took until 2018 before Fitbit became the first company to add period tracking on its devices. Garmin and Apple followed a year later. Meanwhile, Samsung didn’t add the feature until this year, even though users in its forums have been clamoring for it for years. Hopefully, other smartwatch makers will follow suit—in a thoughtful, mindful, and privacy-first way, of course.