When I began using Mira, I was eager to see if my awareness of my fertile window would be sooner, later, or at the same time as with my kegg. I am a long-time fertility awareness method charter and kegg user so my cycle awareness is strong. I like to test out products that are popular so I can lend some perspective to others that are curious. With my passion for women’s health and fertility I get asked all the time “What is the best fertility bracelet?” or “What is the most reliable fertility tracker?” My interest was peaked to see if Mira could yield any additional insights that I had been missing out on.
Mira: Urine metabolite tracker
Mira is a fertility tracking system that uses urine metabolites to monitor the user’s fertility status. It includes a small handheld analyzer, access to the Mira app, and requires single-use urine test sticks. The Mira fertility sticks or “plus wands” as referred to by Mira, are used for tracking the urine metabolites of Estradiol and Luteinizing Hormone to predict when the user is likely fertile or not. Recently, Mira added Confirm wands to allow tracking of progesterone metabolites.
Similar to kegg, the Mira Fertility Tracker has an app which provides fertility insights. The “Mira Analyzer” itself indicates the numeric results of the most recent urine metabolite test and sends the results via bluetooth to your phone. The app uses an algorithm that determines when you will need to test and how many times a day, but typically the user starts with testing once a day and then increases to two times per day around predicted ovulation. To test, the user collects first morning urine and dips the wand for 10-12 seconds, then inserts the wand into the analyzer. It takes the analyzer 16 minutes to read and display the test result. Results are displayed both with a numeric value for LH and Estrogen, as well as a 1-10 Fertility Score, with 10 indicating that it is likely your ovulation day. For women that have a difficult time catching the LH surge or have multiple surges in a cycle, Mira may take up quite a bit of time and budget.
kegg: Cervical Mucus tracker
If you are not familiar with kegg, kegg is a small, sleek fertility tracker which senses cervical fluid (and its electrolyte levels) to predict the full fertile window. In 2-minutes a day, the user gains insight into her cycle, by watching the trend of the daily readings rise or fall, and seeing the predicted fertility status, all displayed in the kegg app. As the user enters the fertile window, the kegg readings will descend on the y-axis due to the increasingly more hospitable vaginal environment and rising estrogen. The kegg user inputs her periods, and has the option to enter other information, such as cervical mucus observations, temperature, LH, PdG., and hCG tests. These optional items do not influence the algorithm.
kegg use differs greatly from that of Mira. kegg is used on all non-bleeding days one time per day. The user can choose a convenient time for use (not confined to the first morning) and must take her readings within the same 2 hour time frame each day. The kegg device is placed vaginally for the reading and does not require any recurring costs of sticks or wands.
My experience with Mira
The Mira Fertility Tracker has an appealing, sophisticated look. However, I very quickly learned I would not want to use Mira for long term cycle tracking as it is cost prohibitive, and creates a lot of waste. Here is a photo of some of the Mira Fertility wands I used over the course of two 26 day cycles (only 16 wands shown here!).
I also did not find that my Mira results were as insightful as kegg regarding my fertile window. For example, even though I could see my estrogen rising, I did not know when my LH would surge relative to this, making the fertile window prediction feel like a guess at best. With kegg, I am very familiar with my “drop” in kegg readings that typically lasts 4 to 5 days. When I see my descending values, I can confidently assume I am in my fertile window. Of course, the added predicted fertile window provided by kegg gives me added confidence.
While both kegg and Mira provide graphs of results, I found the kegg app colors and trend line easier on my eyes. The y-axis on the Mira graphs is hard to read and the results are plotted with a thin line. kegg on the other hand uses the readings in small circles with a dark, very evident trendline that is easy to spot.
Both Mira’s and kegg’s algorithms need to learn about your cycles. Since Mira uses single-use test wands, I felt like the app should have communicated more precisely when I needed to use the Plus wands a second time in a day. Mira fertility wands are quite expensive each cycle and can’t be bought in box stores so I didn’t want to use more than needed. I suspect that users with cycles longer than 28 days or irregular cycles will often need more than the 10-15 Plus wands in a cycle. Since you cannot purchase Mira Plus wands locally, Mira users must plan and purchase well in advance or risk running out and having “data gaps” in their cycles records.
Over the summer, Mira began promoting their new “confirm” wands that measure PdG, the urine metabolite of progesterone. A novel idea and convenient to have all in one system but yet another significant expense. I opted not to use the confirm wands. I’m more familiar with other pdG tests like Proov so I stuck with them. (Please note: kegg users can buy a Proov PdG test kit with 50% off at kegg checkout)
My assumption was progesterone wands would be optional and used after an LH surge was detected, as testing for the progesterone metabolites before or during your fertile window will not aid in the prediction of ovulation tracking. This is not the case. Ever since Mira updated their app in September, 2021 the Confirm wands have been pushed every cycle day. Upon first opening the app I was asked to test with a Confirm Wand or instructed to purchase them. While the use of the Confirm Wands is still optional (at this time), many users will likely assume they’re missing out on necessary data and feel they are not doing all that they can to accurately track their fertility.
Testing with 15 Plus wands and 15 Confirm wands each cycle seems excessive and I expected to only need a few of both types of wands after a couple of cycles but this was not my experience. Supposedly after some period of time, the count decreases as the algorithm learns your cycle but it can take 4-6 cycles for this to happen and that’s if your cycles are regular. Mira’s website recommends 10-15 plus wands per cycle.
I stopped using Mira after 2 cycles because the cost was exuberant and the insights weren’t anything new. Unfortunately, the cost of the analyzer is expensive so I feel the investment was not worthwhile.
|Mira fertility starter kit Expense||kegg Expense|
|Initial Investment: $199||Initial Investment: $259|
Wand cost for an average 28 day cycle:
|kegg app and use: $0|
|Additional cost of use over 6 months: ~$550||Additional cost of use over 6 months: $0|
|Additional cost of use over 12 months: ~ $900-1,100 (based on 10-15 wands per cycles)||Additional cost of use over 12 months: $0|
The benefits of Mira
Mira has a TTA (trying to avoid or postpone pregnancy) profile setting that so far looks and acts the same as the TTC setting. Mira promotes itself as a useful tool to be used alongside NFP (Natural Family Planning). I have read through Mira’s TTA information and it seems mucus tracking and/or temperature tracking is still needed. Mira warns on their website that “no fertility tracker is approved by the FDA as a 100% sure-proof contraceptive.” When you consider the cost, especially over years of use, I could do the math and would not want to use or recommend Mira for avoiding or postponing pregnancy, especially for a long period of time. kegg is not recommended as a contraceptive device but it can be used as a complementary tool to your preferred fertility awareness-based method (FABM).
I did find it intriguing and motivating that Mira displays numeric values for the metabolite levels it detects in urine. I think this could yield interesting cycle comparison data. I do feel, however, that urine concentration plays a significant role. From years of tracking various forms of fertility data, I have learned that I do not capture a surge in LH with first morning urine, and instead see the surge later in the day. In fact, many women will not be able to detect an LH surge until later on, usually between 10 AM to 2 PM. This is fairly well-known in the fertility community so I question why Mira recommends first morning urine and how many users might “miss” this surge when following their instructions for testing. My best guess is that consistent hydration/concentration of urine is needed for accurate results. This is something to keep in mind if you drink water overnight or need to use the bathroom in the early morning hours.
Mira states that it can be used for women with PCOS and irregular cycles. According to their website, users with irregular cycles may need to test more frequently to “find your ovulation”. This is concerning to me, as I already felt there was a substantial cost associated with a “typical” 28-day cycle, so for users with lengthy cycles, the cost could be astronomical. Comparatively, kegg is not recommended for women with PCOS. kegg provides fertile window predictions for users with cycles 21-40 days in length. Many women elect to use kegg with irregular cycles and/or PCOS to watch the trendline for descending valleys to spot their potential fertile windows.
My Concluding Thoughts
It’s always encouraging to see new and different fertility tracking tools available to women and couples trying to conceive or simply learn more about their fertility. Mira has gained a good deal of popularity but as I’ve read in other Mira fertility reviews, my experience is quite similar to many other women. So Is Mira worth the money? For me, the recurring cost of Mira wands isn’t worth the numeric data the app provides. On the other hand, kegg is a one time investment with zero recurring costs and offers fascinating data and insights to my fertility and full fertile window.