Company treats infertility issues before they arise, to reduce costs and risks
About one in eight couples, or a total of 7.4 million people, in the United States fight against infertility problems. Despite the prevalence of the problem, most treatment options remain expensive: the average cost of in vitro fertilization in the United States is currently around $12,000. Unsurprisingly, all of this leads most patients to report feelings of depression.
What if it pays to get to the heart of fertility issues early on in the journey, thereby reducing both cost and risk to the patient? This is the idea behind Fertility Framework a company founded by CEO Jessica Bell van der Wal and her husband Corey after their own fertility journey, which officially launched Wednesday with $2.8 million in seed funding.
“The framework is holistic. We look at the full picture of a person’s fertility health, such as their goals, medical history, partner, finances, not just their age or hormone levels,” Van der Wal told me.
“Frame is proactive – focused on proactively eliminating the crisis, risk factors and high costs of an infertility diagnosis. Many companies focus on people struggling with infertility. We help them, as well as everyone else, before they got to this difficult place.”
Frame offers a suite of services that can help identify risks to the patient, ensuring that their health issues are resolved before they start trying to conceive. The solution is offered by employers and providers to their employees and patients.
Once a user signs up, the company assesses where they are at with their family planning and health using a digital questionnaire and a proprietary clinical algorithm. It then pairs the user or users with a dedicated coach to align with their plan and facilitate action on next steps. Going forward, their coach is there to support them on their journey via email, text or additional coaching calls.
“Our coaches are each certified in health and wellness coaching and counseling with other complementary experiences in fertility and/or women’s health,” van der Wal explained.
“All of our coaches undergo extensive training on our coaching product and methodology. Some are full-time employees and others are hourly paid, which will continue to evolve as our business grows.”
The company not only caters to people from all walks of life, supporting patients of all races, ethnicities, gender identities and sexual orientations, single and in a relationship, but it also reframes fertility issues as a health issue. women, like around half of infertility problems are due to “male factor” sterility.
So far, Frame has piloted its product in partnership with obstetricians/gynecologists in 2021, and it is now seeing growth across the spectrum of healthcare providers to include family practice providers and fertility clinics. . After using Frame, the company found that 88% of its users reported improved health, while 90% felt more confident in their care, and 82% of users discovered risk factors, such as undiagnosed endometriosis and PCOS.
The new runding discovery was led by Looking Glass Capital and with participation from Flare Capital Partners, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Healthworx and Brand Foundry Ventures. The company’s angel investors include Christine Hsu Evansdirector of marketing and strategy at Headspace Health; Play Julie, CEO and Founder of Everly Health; and John Colellafounder of Castlight, OODA and Brightline Health.
The company plans to use it to grow its team to support new customer launches; develop the product, including new features such as community features; and to support research efforts to continue to prove how its product supports and improves health and clinical outcomes.
“With our solution, everyone wins: consumers, providers, employers and payers. We seek to improve health and reduce costs. So, we have sought investors who touch on all aspects of this spectrum and each part of healthcare. We have doctors, we have consumer healthcare CEOs, we have B2B-focused institutional businesses, we have women-focused investors. We have a well-rounded group that is pounding the table for better responses. This market is far from being saturated,” van der Wal said.
Frame Fertility is launching into an environment where the conversation and demand for fertility solutions has increased dramatically, especially after the COVID crisis. This has led employers, who have been challenged by The Great Resignation, to provide better and more inclusive fertility benefits in order to retain and attract the best and most diverse talent.
Despite all of this, however, shortcomings remain, van der Wal said.
“While many are starting to offer benefits for treatments like egg freezing and IVF, they lack holistic options that can often avoid the crisis of reactive treatments and improve overall health,” she explained.
“Providers are seeing the intense and emotional toll an infertility diagnosis has on their patients and are hungry for an evidence-based solution that doesn’t add to their workload. People are delaying family building. Millennials and GenZers are questioning having babies due to economic uncertainty and climate change.”
At the same time, more people are talking openly about fertility and infertility issues, prompting consumers to seek better support.
“Our ultimate vision is to live in a world where infertility does not exist. Dealing with fertility issues can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, from their relationships and mental health to their finances and productivity. “, said van der Wal.
“We want to be there before that infertility crisis happens to ideally prevent it from happening.”
(Image source: framefertility.com)