By Jennifer Jay Palumbo
There’s a quote by Megan Smith, an American engineer and technologist. She was the third Chief Technology Officer of the United States, that goes, “Innovation comes out of great human ingenuity and very personal passions.”
There has been a push to find new solutions to how we navigate a Covid-19 world during the pandemic.
There’s no doubt that the coronavirus has challenged those trying to conceive or pursuing fertility treatment. It’s that challenge that helped create a new partnership in the fertility health space that’s come about to make reproductive diagnostic testing and consults more accessible as the pandemic continues to cause slowdowns. With access to fertility care falling by an estimated 30-45%, two startups just partnered to create a new form of treatment amidst the lifestyle changes that COVID-19 continues to develop.
Last year the ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) paused all fertility treatments for some time. The Brookings Institution estimated that 500,000 fewer babies might be born in 2021 – a 13% decrease from 2019
On the heels of this, Fertility Cloud (an online consultation platform with US-licensed, board-certified fertility specialists offering comprehensive female and male fertility testing and treatment delivered directly to your home) has just collaborated with MFB Fertility (makers of Proov test – the first at-home progesterone test kit).
Through this partnership, any community members can consult with Dr. Gary Levy, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist, to discuss their at-home results and what possible treatments or prescriptions are needed.
My Conversation with Amy Beckley
To learn more, I spoke with Dr. Amy Beckley, Ph.D., Founder and Inventor of the Proov test, to gain insight into this initiative and share with IVF Babble’s readers to decide if it’s something that could support you along your infertility journey!
Palumbo: How did this partnership come about?
Beckley: We had been looking to develop a list of Proov-friendly doctors who could help women with the following steps once they completed testing and got their results. Many women told us that they were met with resistance when they tried to discuss results and progesterone generally with their doctors, so we wanted to provide an outlet for getting a second opinion. Through this search, we discovered Fertility Cloud, whose doctors are early adaptors of novel technologies, and recognized a gap in the diagnosis of luteal phase deficiency. It was a natural match as Proov provided the technology that improved their diagnostic acumen and helped a different group of women typically diagnosed with unexplained infertility. It made sense for us to come together so we could help more women.
Palumbo: How do you hope this partnership helps patients?
Beckley: Proov is the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home. If Proov indicates a problem with ovulation, they often need a doctor’s help to fix it. Fertility Cloud offers virtual fertility care appointments across the entire US. If a woman identifies an ovulation issue with Proov, she can connect with the fertility doctors on Fertility Cloud to get the proper treatment. If Proov indicates ovulation is OK, they can still sign up for full fertility consultations with Fertility Cloud where doctors can explore other potential issues. Both Proov and Fertility Cloud provide critical fertility information and support at home, which is vital, especially during a pandemic.
Palumbo: What services are you most proud of?
Beckley: We have now had multiple success stories where women have identified an issue with Proov and then gotten treatment through Fertility Cloud. They have loved the support and care they have received from Dr. Gary Levy, Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist at Fertility Cloud. To hear how happy our consumers are once they’ve been heard and feel supported is so incredibly rewarding.
Palumbo: Any encouraging words for those dealing with infertility during this pandemic?
Beckley: Infertility is so tough in regular times, and the pandemic has only made things more challenging because of lack of access to care and longer wait times. There are some excellent at-home options to gather information while a couple is waiting through an increased virtual care. Advocating for yourself can make a massive difference in infertility, so we encourage people to collect as much information as possible while waiting on appointments. And if we can lend any help – even if it’s just someone to listen – we are here.