With people waiting until later in life to have children and fertility treatment being a cost many cannot afford, how can DTC empower patients to get in front of fertility complications that could arise later in life?
As women wait longer to have their first child, with the average age of first child rising to 28 in 2016, up from 24.6 in 1970, the ability to calculate the risk of age related fertility complications grows in importance. With the probability of fertility complications significantly increasing after the age of 35, and traditional treatment ranging from over a thousand dollars for medication, to an average cost of successful IVF treatment being in the tens of thousands of dollars (mostly paid out of pocket), it pays off for women to be in the know of their fertility timeline. Even if money is not a barrier, a study also found that many women feel embarrassed by their inability to conceive, and this embarrassment leads to them not receiving the appropriate treatment for their fertility complications.
Women are not the only ones affected by the trend of people waiting till later in life to have children. Studies show that increased age in men is tied to decreased pregnancy rates and an increase in the amount of time to pregnancy. In the past, when a couple has struggled to conceive after a year, both partners would have their fertility tested at a fertility clinic. Traditionally, there has been a reluctance for men to have their fertility tested at a clinic or tell their peers about their struggles with infertility.
The below ventures are making sure that those who do experience fertility complications or want to get in front of a potential future problem are more empowered to receive the care they need.
Modern Fertility: Founded in 2017 and based in San Francisco, CA, Modern Fertility is allowing women to test their fertility without having to step into an expensive fertility clinic. Modern Fertility allows women to receive a hormone testing kit in the mail, send their sample in for results to be reviewed by a couple of physicians with results to be posted to a private dashboard within a few days of physician review. Their test includes screening levels of AMH, which is seen as the most reliable marker for ovarian reserve. Modern Fertility has raised slightly over $7M so far according to Pitchbook.
Proov: Founded in 2016 and based in Boulder, CO, Proov has developed a test that allows for women to test their progesterone levels from home. Progesterone levels being elevated is critical for women trying to conceive, and Proov helps women know if their progesterone levels are high enough for them to conceive and maintain their pregnancy. Proov has raised about $700K at a post-money valuation of $5.7M according to Pitchbook.
Dadi: Founded in 2019 in Brooklyn, NY, Dadi allows male consumers to get their fertility tested and sperm stored without ever having to step into a fertility clinic. With the process usually having a price north of a thousand dollars, Dadi is offering a service that allows users to purchase a kit for $99, send samples to the lab with free overnight shipping, and receive a fertility report within 24 hours of technician receipt. Dadi allows for users to easily store their sample at a rate of $9.99 a month or $99 a year. Dadi raised a $2M seed round in early 2019 according to Pitchbook.
Trak Fertility: Based in Livermore, CA and founded in 2012, Trak Fertility is moving fertility testing to a completely at home process. Unlike Dadi in which consumers need to send their samples into a lab for results, Trak is enabling consumers to test themselves through their at home sperm test that allows users to see their sperm concentration as being either “Optimal”, “Moderate”, or “Low”. Trak tests range in cost from $75 - $175 dollars. Trak Fertility raised a round of financing in late 2018 bringing their total amount of money raised to a bit over $8M according to Pitchbook.
This blog post is an expert from a full-length, “Bridging Treatment Gaps Through the Direct-to-Consumer Model.” You can download the report here.