Dr Louise Rix, a former VC at Forward Partners, is making the leap into a startup operator role and joining fertility startup Béa Fertility as the company’s new Chief Medical Officer. She will bring both tech and health expertise to her new role, is a qualified medical doctor and spent several years on the NHS frontline.
Béa Fertility was co-founded by femtech expert Tess Cosad, embryologist David O’Rourke and product engineer George Thomas, Béa Fertility. The company is developing clinical-grade, at-home fertility treatments for people who are struggling to conceive naturally. The startup raised $1m in pre-seed funding earlier this year to expand their team and bring their fertility solution to market.
The first product in development is the Béa Treatment Kit, bringing back a clinical treatment called ICI (or Intracervical Insemination) that was popular until the 1970’s, when IVF began to be successfully commercialised. The advent of IVF – and subsequently IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) – saw ICI phased out as a treatment. Today ICI is no longer offered by fertility clinics; however in recent years a significant body of research has emerged that suggests IUI is not significantly more effective than ICI as a fertility treatment.
Béa’s ICI method involves using a device to place a small cup of semen close to the cervix, where it’s left in-situ for up to 6 hours. During that time, women can go about their days as normal. There are no invasive hormone treatments or injectables involved. Two weeks after your treatment, you test for pregnancy using the pregnancy test you receive in your Béa Treatment Kit.
Users will also be provided with ovulation tests each month, alongside access to an app to help track their ovulation patterns, connect with fertility experts and create individual fertility treatment plans. A new treatment kit will be delivered each month on a rolling subscription basis.
In her new role as Béa’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Rix will now help to develop the company’s hardware and digital fertility products, playing a pivotal role in the development of a portfolio of evidence-based fertility treatments and solutions. Her role as Chief Medical Officer will see her lead on the creation of educational content and resources to support users on their fertility journeys. Dr Rix will also drive Béa Fertility’s go-to market strategy for the product launch in summer 2022.
She explains: “Infertility is a big and growing problem. It’s extremely painful for the people who experience it. Of the women who struggle to conceive, 50% say it is the single most upsetting event of their lives. Yet we don’t talk about it enough and the systems and treatments in place to support these women haven’t changed significantly for years. Béa is on track to completely transform how we approach fertility care; helping to ease the pain for families by bringing education, support, transparency and affordability to the market. I’m really excited to be a part of this journey and to be able to make a tangible difference to women’s lives within a sector I’m so passionate about.”
Tess Cosad, CEO and co-founder of Béa Fertility, shares: “We couldn’t be more excited to be welcoming Louise onto the team. Her wealth of knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm for what we’re building knows no bounds and we’re incredibly honored that she has chosen to join us at this crucial time in the evolution of the business. She’s going to play a key role in helping us educate women about their fertility and the options available to them. She’s also going to help us further our fundamental goal of creating new fertility pathways so that people don’t have to go through invasive and expensive fertility treatments right at the start of their fertility journeys.”