This article was originally posted by Health Transformer:
From a very young age, Cristina Torres knew she had been made in a lab. Listening to the stories her parents told her, she learned how much they had struggled to have her, and how overjoyed they were when they successfully conceived her through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
“26 years after my first experience in a lab, I decided to go back and work in the fertility field to help couples who could not conceive,” Torres said. “However, what I saw was that unlike my parents who suffered from medical infertility in their late 20s, many of these couples were in their late 30s or early 40s and were suffering from social infertility.”
A relatively new term, social infertility refers to the inability of an individual or couple to conceive due to age-related factors. For Torres, who understood the pain that infertility could cause, her clients’ suffering affected her deeply. Especially since social infertility could often be avoided through a fertility assessment performed by a doctor during a woman’s fertile years.
“Women are often misled by the media, misinformed about their own fertility, and overconfident about their future capacity to conceive,” said Torres. “This lack of fertility awareness and planning, combined with the increase of the intended motherhood age, puts every woman at risk of social infertility.”
According to Torres, the high risk of social infertility has several causes. Although the need for 75% of fertility treatments in the U.S. can be attributed to an age-related factor, current medical guidelines don’t recommend fertility assessment as a means of preventing social infertility. Compounding this lack of institutional awareness is the fact that most women don’t know they should ask their doctors for a fertility assessment.A lack of fertility awareness can be very costly, too.
“While the average cost of fertility assessment consultation is only $300, the average cost of just one IVF cycle is on average $16,000,”
said Torres. “The failure to market assessments also translates into a missed opportunity for fertility businesses of about $300 per patient.”
By taking users through five simple steps, Seed intends to foster fertility awareness among women everywhere.To help women avoid social infertility, Torres and her cofounders, Christophe Honoré and Marcus Thorelius, formed Seed, a fertility planning startup that’s attempting to reshape modern reproductive culture.
“Seed was born to eradicate social infertility through early fertility planning,” said Torres. “It’s the only platform currently dedicated to starting a fertility planning conversation.”
Consisting of five phases, the Seed platform begins by providing its users with information about their reproductive health. It then allows them to book an appointment with a consultant for a fertility assessment. Seed also enables its users to gain a deeper understanding of fertility planning options like egg freezing and non-motherhood, and helps them book follow-up appointments with the providers in its network.
According to Torres, the first iteration of Seed will launch in the third quarter of this year. While the platform is being developed, the founders of Seed have been working to expand the company’s network of investors, partners, and customers, and recently joined StartUp Health’s Global Army of Health Transformers. It’s all part of an effort to build a company that Torres estimates could generate $210 million in annual revenue, while improving the lives of women around the world.
“Our moonshot is to make fertility assessment as common as getting your cholesterol measured,” said Torres. “We should all be measuring our fertility as we reach our fertile age. Right now that’s not happening, and it’s so simple.”
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