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I started using this when I meet my now husband which was 2 years ago. It was recommended to me by sister who has used it since 2002. Neither her or myself have ever had any unwanted pregnancies and it has worked perfectly while trying to get pregnant also. The product does require self discipline from the user, if you miss tests for example your red days will be a lot more the next month. The only downside I can think of is that it does require some extra focus when traveling, as I travel extensively with work in different time zones this does at times cause some problems for me during the tests days. However, all in all, I wouldn't choose any other hormone based method over persona. It really works for me and my partner.
Like the previous reviewer, I have used this monitor to conceive rather than for contraception, and have found it to be great for providing me with information about my most fertile cycle days.
Using the same technology as the more expensive Clearblue Fertility Monitor, this monitor identifies rises in both oestrogen and luteinising hormone, that indicate that a woman is about to ovulate. This can give couples a better idea of when they are fertile than ovulation tests do as they only highlight when luteinising hormone levels peak. The symbols for these changes in fertility are clear as the monitor provides you with a green light when you are not fertile, red light (as this has been developed as contraception) when you become more fertile (oestrogen levels increase) and have an 'egg' symbol when luteinising hormone levels peak (indicating ovulation is imminent).
The monitor becomes more in tune with your body as the months go on and it shows you less 'red' days to make it clearer when you are fertile. You can stop using the sticks when the 'egg' symbol has been shown as the monitor will show you as fertile for a couple more days whether you test or not.
I have not used this as contraception, but I wouldn't hesitate to do. It is important to think though that like any contraception method, it is not fool proof.
Unlike most of the reviewers for this product, instead of using this for it's intended purpose, to help avoid conception, I used it as a way to help me fall pregnant. After having no luck with ovulation tests, I wanted a way to definitively pin point the day of the release of my egg. This product is cheaper to buy and to get refills for than the similar, but aimed at those desperate to concieve and so willing to pay over the odds to obtain their precious baby, Clearblue monitor.
The way this product works is that you press the M button on the first day of your period. After that it tells you when you when you should pee on a stick (always use your first morning urine, as it's much more concentrated!) by indicating with a light under the screen. You buy the sticks seperatley in packs of 8- the cheapest I could find these were at just over £7 on Amazon. The lights next to the screen then turn green (indicating no ovualtion) or red (indicating the egg may be on its way) on top of that you also get an egg sign on the display (indicating your 'peak' days when the lutenising hormone is at it's highest) If you are trying for a baby, those are the days to get busy, or if you're avoiding, put the soldier's helmet on (or any other euphemism you'd like to use for taking extra precautions)
I found this to be a much better way to scientifically prove that the egg was coming. And the blood tests taken backed up the results that this monitor gave. However, I would advise that people who have long cycles will find it difficult to use this product, as the days you can test on are limited. I only used it when I was pretty sure my cycle would be under 35 days (medically induced in my case) but it would be useless to me on a normal PCOS cycle, which can last anything from a few days to over 9 months.
Overall, a brilliant little gadget, cheap and easy to use. And yes, it helped me to conceive! My little one being here is mainly down to my using this product (and the wonders of modern fertility treatment!)
I have no axe to grind, no unwanted pregnancy using a Persona to bitch about, but I do know a couple of things about the human body...
Even if you follow every instruction to the letter and have the most regular periods in the world, you can still have an unwanted pregnancy with this machine if you have unprotected sex on the 'green light days' that the machine gives prior to ovulation, especially if your cycle is on the shorter side.
Your menstruation may be regular, but that doesn't mean your ovulation is. Yes, an unfertilised egg does trigger menstruation chemically, but the time period is variable. In some cases menstruation can happen WITHOUT ovulation. So they are more independent that many people think.
OK, so we all know that if you don't want a kid when you have sex, you shouldn't have unprotected sex just before or during ovulation. But here's the show stopper...
Sperm CAN live in the woman's body for up to 7 days. Fact.
Even if the machine has learned your pattern for months, even if you follow ever instruction, do all the urine tests, as far as I know the machine can't tell that you are going to ovulate 7 days before it happens. So you could have unprotected sex with a 'green light' and still have sperm around in time to greet a fresh egg which is released 5, 6 or 7 days later.
What the machine is best used for is 2 things:
A good indicator that you have ovulated and therefore when the lights go green again after ovulation, you can confidently have unprotected sex.
The other good use is actually the opposite to it's advertised function... being an ovulation indicator, it's actually a very good tool to help with conceiving.
I recommend that if you use "Persona' you DON'T have unprotected sex during the pre-ovulation part of your cycle at all. Remember: sperm can live for 7 days. You don't get 7 days warning of when you will ovulate, and it can unexpectedly vary, EVEN if your menstruation is regular as clockwork.
Have fun!!!!! ;^D
I got pregnant in only the second month of using Persona, despite using it exactly as intended and following all the instructions extremely carefully. The problem is that it relies too much on data from previous cycles rather than the hormone tests alone, so, contrary to what their advertising claims, if your cycle is even slightly irregular it's simply not trustworthy. Save your money for contraception that actually works (or for nappies, baby clothes etc...)
I have been using a Persona monitor for about five years now, so I guess I must be happy with it. However, I didnt originally buy it as a contraceptive device; I bought it to help me get pregnant!
Persona is available from Boots and most other chemists. The starter pack in Boots will set you back £64.95. It is actually advertised on Boots.com under the Fertility section of the Family Planning department, so I guess that quite a few people do buy it to use as an ovulation prediction device rather than for contraception. It can do both, because Persona works by monitoring your personal hormone levels.
The starter pack comprises a small, hand held monitor (with a 1 year guarantee), two packs of test sticks, and an instruction booklet. Now, I must confess that I probably didnt read the instruction booklet very thoroughly, and this led me to consider abandoning Persona after only a few months, and I will explain why later!
How it works the theory
Persona works by testing your early morning urine in order to monitor changes in your hormone levels. The hormones it tracks are the two that mainly control your monthly cycle: luteinising hormone (LH) and a urinary metabolite of estradiol (an estrogen). Now, we all remember from O level Biology dont we (ooops, GCSE, showing my age there) that LH is the hormone that has a big surge in the middle of your cycle, causing an egg to be released. This is the surge that ovulation prediction kits aim to detect. Persona helpfully displays an egg symbol (an o with a dot in it) to indicate that you should ovulate within the next one or two days. But strangely, I never saw this (can you see where this is going yet?)
The monitor reads, stores and uses the hormone information to tell you whether its a Green or Red day. On Green days you dont need to use any additional contraception if you choose to have sex. In theory, you should abstain on Red days, and this is what the 94% effectiveness measure of Persona is based on. The monitor learns more about your cycle over progressive months, so you should get fewer and fewer red days with use until typically, you get between 6 to 12 Red days per cycle.
How it works the practice
You have to wait until the first day of your period to start using Persona. Just to make it slightly complicated, if your period starts late in the day, you should wait until the following morning to start using it. You tell the monitor that your period has started by pushing a button marked M, and the display screen on the front then displays 1 for Day 1 of your cycle.
The time that you push the button is important. This sets a testing window which is six hours long from 3 hours before the time at which you pushed the button, to 3 hours afterwards. This is the time period during which, every day, you need to consult your monitor to get your contraceptive advice for the day; either a green light is lit up (go get im tiger) or a red one is lit (take a cold shower). This is also when the monitor will let you know whether you need to do a urine test that day. This needs to be done with the first wee of the day, so its important to remember to look at the monitor BEFORE you use the toilet! Mine lives on top of the cistern. Its very unobtrusive, since it has a hinged lid that hides all the workings underneath. It just sits there looking like a posh white box. Men probably think it has tampons in.
If you need to do a test, using the test sticks is easy. They are individually foil-wrapped just tear it open, and wee on the white absorbent fabric end. Then take the cap off the handle and cover the wet end. There is a slot in the monitor to insert the stick into, and the monitor flashes a yellow light to let you know that its reading it. When the light finishes flashing, you take the stick out and throw it away.
For the first month, you will need to do 16 tests, and that is why 2 packs of sticks are included in the Starter pack. If you start to re-use the monitor after an extended period of not using it, for example, after a pregnancy (!) you will need to re-set the monitor and follow the same procedure in this case, you need to make sure that you purchase 2 packs of sticks with the same Lot Number printed on the box.
In subsequent months, you will be asked for a maximum of 8 tests. Packs of 8 test sticks are available in chemists; Boots has them for £9.99 but you may be able to source them slightly cheaper on-line.
Thats about all you need to know really about using the thing at the start of your next period, simply push the M button again, and away you go.
So why did I consider stopping using Persona after only a few months, and why am I glad that I didnt? Well, the instruction booklet does warn that Persona must not be used by women with cycles shorter than 23 days or cycles longer than 35 days. My periods used to be very irregular very short cycles, occasionally interspersed with the odd long one. But I guess I never really paid close attention. Anyway, I seemed to have an awful lot of Red days but as the months slipped by and we failed to get pregnant, I did notice that I had never seen the egg symbol referred to in the Persona booklet. After a year of trying, we went to see our GP and were referred to an infertility specialist. She explained that there were a number of reasons for infertility, but she was fairly certain that my problem was hormonal. It was a big help to have been tracking my cycle for the previous year. Sure enough, within 3 months (which is how long it took to get up to a therapeutic dose of Clomid) we were pregnant.
After baby #1, I decided to carry on using Persona. The best thing was that the infertility specialist had told me that hormonal imbalances often cure themselves after pregnancy. When I saw the egg symbol appear for the first time on its own, I knew this was the case for me and sure enough when we decided to try for baby #2 (and allowed for plenty of fun trying) we got pregnant first go ;-)
So, clearly Persona isnt for everyone as a means of contraception. Its slightly less reliable than the Pill for example (and probably much less reliable if you dont abstain on Red days) and obviously doesnt protect against STDs. The marketing blurb states Persona is not recommended for women for whom pregnancy is totally unacceptable. Bit of a cop-out for a contraceptive eh?
On the other hand, its great for tracking your cycle if you WANT to get pregnant. The test sticks are cheaper than ovulation sticks (which are £17.99 per month for a pack of 5 in Boots) although you do have the initial outlay for the monitor. Plus, ovulation kits rely on you testing at the right time in your cycle, so if your cycles are irregular, I think that Persona would be more likely to give you an accurate picture of whats going on. Blimey, who knew it was so complicated?
One final point the testing window. Gets very confusing if you are flying through time zones. Plane toilets are not the place to be whipping out test sticks! (Baby #2 was not conceived in the UK lol).
Well Persona has proved a laugh a minute with me and the latest (hear the irony in that staement???) He would rings up to find out what colour day it is before decidign if he wanted to see me that day. Green for unprotected sex, red for no way Hose and amber for do a test and we'll get back to you. All in all the system works well - I haven't had an unplanned pregnancy yet after 5 years of using it - I really wish I hadn't said that - but you must stick to the rules - there are no margins of error with this system. The cost is approx £20 for the first unit and a months testing sticks are £9.99. First you start the system on the first day of your period and about 5 days after that you get an amber light which tells you to do a test. You have to pee for a few seconds on a stick and then put it in the machine. If you pee for too long (as I used to) the machine will show a red light result as it has nothing to go on (sorry about the pun!) This means you have a lot of red days and not many green. Your cycle must be at least 23 days to use the system - that's 23 days from the start of one period to another. If you are on the Pill you need to wait for at leat three periods after you have come off the pill before starting to use the system. Beware, my friend didn't wait and she's pregnant - not a disaster in her case as she had come off to get pregnant but she wasn't expecting it to happen quite so soon. The downside is if you go on holiday and you're in a different time zone it's almost impossible to use as the testing 'slot' is the same every day and has to be the first pee of the day. All in all a good system if you are in a faithful relationship but otherwise it's no good as it doesn't prevent sexually transmitted diseases. The makers claim it's as effective as the pill at about 95% safe and if there is a 'mistake' they take the unit back to sus
s out what's happening. They also have a great help line so if you are really stuck they can help you there and then. Be prepared to answer personal questions though - took me by surprise when she started asking me about the last time I had had sex etc...strange when I had only rung to ask about the batteries (Only joking!!) All in all I suppose if you open up the box and it beams a green grin at you it's always something to look forward to.....
After reading several of the opinions on contraception, I realised that no-one had written an opinion on the Persona. I have had experience of this product so I thought I would give you all the benefit of my humble opinion! The Persona had had a lot of bad press. I think this is somewhat unfair, and I will attempt to put in context. It came on the market about 5 years ago, and I remember a lot of publicity about it being approved by the Catholic Church. In some ways it is not a contraceptive as it does not prevent pregnancy or STDs etc and does not prevent you having sex if you want to. It is really a device that enables you to learn about your own body and to make choices accordingly. It is a method which allows you to have a natural sex life without fear of pregnancy. It involves no medical procedure, you don’t need to get it on prescription, and it has no side effects. Of course it does not protect from HIV or other STDs and is only about pregnancy. The Persona is bought in an initial starter pack, which contains the Persona unit itself, 2 packs of testing sticks, and an instruction booklet. I’m not a technical person, but from what I understand, the Persona tests the levels of hormones in your urine and uses this information, along with the knowledge of what day of your cycle it is, to deem whether or not you may have unprotected sex without the risk of pregnancy. Who can use it? The Persona is aimed at women who have a very regular cycle lasting between 23 and 35 days. Ideally, you should be in a long-term stable relationship, or be someone who would be able to cope with a pregnancy. This is not because the method is unreliable, no method is 100% safe, but because there is quite a lot of scope for user error and unlike a contraceptive such as the pill, it does nothing to actually prevent pregnancy. If it is used correctly, I believe it is supposed to be over 95% reliable.
If you switch from using the pill or other contraceptives containing hormones, you need to wait at least 3 months before using the Persona to let your hormone levels return to normal. After I was married in April 1999, I decided to use the Persona. I had to come off the pill for medical reasons in 1997 and had been using condoms. For all the well documented reasons (lack of spontenaity etc) I don’t think condoms are ideal for a long-term relationship and I don’t particularly like them. We weren’t planning a family immediately but knew it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I did become pregnant. I have had regular periods since I started menstruating, so the Persona seemed an ideal product for me. How to use the Persona? It is VITAL that you read the instruction booklet before use. It is very well written, there is a section on FAQs and also a help-line if you need advice. It does all appear quite complicated at first so studying this book is important. On the first day on your period, press the ‘m’ button in the Persona unit until a ‘1’ appears in the display unit. A green, yellow or red light will appear. Green means it is safe for you to have intercourse without the risk of pregnancy, Red means there is a high risk of pregnancy if you have sex and yellow means that you need to do a urine test. The urine test is quite simple. Just pee on the stick and put it in the machine slot. The yellow light will flash on and off for about 5 minutes and then you will get a green or a red light and can remove the test stick. In the first month of using the Persona, you are requested to do up to 16 urine tests, this is so the Persona can build up a picture of your body. After that you need to do up to 8 tests each month. You need to look at the Persona every day at roughly the same time, I think you have about a 3 hour window. The booklet explains much more abou
t this. The information it gives you is valid for 24 hours, e.g. if you have a red light it means that it is a high risk time for the next 24 hours, even though the next day might give you a green light. It also gives a sign for when you are ovulating. I guess it could be used to help you plan a baby, though I imagine there are better products for this. Disadvantages 1. The cost. The Persona does not come particularly cheap, unless you’re comparing it to having a baby. The initial starter pack costs about £65 and the test sticks are £10 each month. 2. The red light indicates when you are most fertile. Unfortunately many women, including myself, feel a lot more like having sex on these days. Of course you can use a barrier method, such as a condom on these days without affecting the workings of the Persona. 3. Remembering to look at the unit each day and doing the urine tests etc can be as inconvenient as remembering to take the pill, and you don’t get as long as 12 hours to remember! The Persona will always err on the side of caution and give you more red light days. I would recommend this product to someone who feels she fits the right criteria. I think that a lot of the bad press comes from it only being appropriate for a (possibly) smallish number of women. I used the Persona for about 8 months then forgot to do a few of the urine tests. Consequently I had more red light days that month which I chose to ignore. This resulted in a bouncing baby boy 9 months later! I accept that it was my incorrect use of the Persona, and not the fault of the product itself. And I have no regrets!
Contraception that works with a woman's body, enabling couples to make love on most days of the month without using contraceptives