Fertility is like most aspects of medicine — it’s rarely discussed until a problem arises. But as women wait longer to start families, sometimes those discussions come too late.
Modern Fertility is one of a growing number of biotech companies that want to start the conversation sooner. It and other startups in the “femtech” field — technology companies that offer products around women’s reproductive health, such as period-tracking apps, birth control subscription services, and egg-freezing boutiques — are providing women with access to private fertility services that used to be solely within the purview of doctors. Their goal, the companies say, is to help women be better informed and more proactive about their health.
“There is a lot of confusion when women are trying to conceive,” says Afton Vechery, co-founder and CEO of Modern Fertility. “It’s a black box, and they are looking for more data to understand what’s going on.”
The rise of femtech startups — which have raised more than $1 billion since 2014 and are projected to be a $50 billion industry by 2025 — has coincided with a declining U.S. birth rate, in part due to women waiting longer to start trying to conceive. The U.S. birth rate dropped in 2017 in every age group except women over 40, and women ages 30 to 34 now have a higher birth rate than women in their twenties. As women continue to delay having children, more are turning to assisted reproductive technology, such as egg freezing and in vitro fertilization. Like other direct-to-consumer health care startups, femtech companies view this space as being ripe for major disruption — and money.
Modern Fertility has carved out a diagnostic niche. The company offers an at-home testing kit for up to eight different hormones, including the three most important ones related to fertility: anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and estradiol.
As an unmarried woman in my early thirties who would like to have kids someday, I was curious about my own numbers, so I ordered a test from Modern Fertility. The kit arrived in the mail in the smooth, matte white packaging popularized by…