The knock-on effects of the pandemic that disrupted our lives in 2020 are still prevalent, despite the hopeful wishes of a “Happy New Year”. These disruptions, in particular, have affected those looking to plan a family. With many wedding plans postponed, dating lives interrupted or halted altogether, family plans have also been affected. Studies have shown that 6 in 10 women are anxious about their chances of having a family due to COVID.
One company on a mission to solve the current fertility crisis is Hertility, an innovative femtech company on a mission to give women control of their fertility journey, and support their reproductive needs through tailored at-home testing and access to care.
In the UK (and elsewhere) a major problem many women face is lack of access to and affordability of testing. The current NHS guidelines require a woman to be actively trying to conceive for over 12 months before being referred for specialist help, which isn’t very useful if you’re in single or in a same-sex relationship. Private IVF clinics are prohibitive, both financially and psychologically and not everyone who is just curious about their fertility wants to step inside an infertility clinic right away. With a simple at-home blood test, clear insights, actionable advice and a route to care, Hertility Health wants to help women understand their risks of infertility so that they can take control of their fertility future.
Created by leading scientists, these tailored hormone tests enable every woman to get personalized answers to their individual health needs. This is not just a test, it’s a triage. The process begins with a detailed online questionnaire, that takes into account over 200 variables which are used to calculate the risk for certain common pathologies which could lead to reduced fertility. Responses and individual biometrics then feed the algorithm which tailors each test and is then conveniently delivered directly to the door step. Once a sample has been collected and sent to an accredited lab, the results are compiled into a digital report, which accounts for over 54,000 variables and explains hormone levels and risks in an understandable way that matters to you. Hertility uses machine learning and elegant data analysis to create diagnostic algorithms in order to bring women to care much sooner.
After receiving results, women are invited to consult Hertility’s team of clinical experts, who are able to offer a care pathway from trusted professionals. From symptom management to fertility counsellors, egg freezing or IVF, Hertility has experts at hand. “We want to make information, help and care accessible and affordable for all, we believe that in an age of knowledge, it is unacceptable to know so little about ourselves. Reproductive problems are not prioritized, and female health has not been either, which has led to a global drop in fertility rates. We want to stop this drop”, says Hertility Founder and CEO, Dr Helen O’Neill.
Innovation is at the forefront of the company’s mission, with an ongoing clinical trial which has now been extended to 70 sites in the UK. “Every single woman has a story; one where they felt ignored, unheard or misunderstood by their doctor – in turn leading them to doubt, struggle and battle their pain. With the average length of a GP appointment lasting just 9 minutes, it’s no wonder women can come away untested and untreated. “The current system is flawed,” Dr. Helen O’Neill says. “Healthcare should not be reactive, we should be proactive about our health. Time is of the essence when it comes to fertility.”
The company had a soft launch in September 2020 and has just launched officially this January.