Venture capital money flows into fertility technology

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Fertility tech startups are in the midst of a funding frenzy, reaching more than $800 million by 2022 as demand for fertility services continues to soar.

Why it matters: Increasing demand is not being met with increasing access, which is why tech-forward companies are striving to fill the gap.

Send the news: Several family planning realities have been thrust into the spotlight in recent years:

  • The economics of infertility treatment remain very opaque, and insurance coverage varies wildly by state and provider.
  • The inequities in the industry disproportionately impact LGBTQ, low-income and people of color.
  • The end of Roe against Wade has enabled states to pursue reproductive health legislation that could pose challenges for patients and caregivers in states such as Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee.

What they say: Employers, entrepreneurs and investors tell Axios that they value their role more than ever, with startups responding to employer demands by expanding their offerings to include reproductive care.

  • “We believe the ability to raise a family is a fundamental human right,” said Sunfish CEO Angela Rastegar.
  • “Women want control because it’s so limited,” Lori Evans Bernstein, the CEO of Caraway, a virtual women’s health startup, told Axios last fall.
  • “Traditional reproductive endocrinology practices are the closest to what we do, but they just aren’t able to serve enough patients,” said Amy Zwanziger, the CEO of a startup called Turtle Health that offers at-home fertility testing.
  • “Tackling infertility requires innovations that lead to more inclusive – and ultimately more effective – family care,” said Lux ​​Capital partner Deena Shakir.

By the numbers: Fertility-focused technology venture funding has risen steadily over the past decade, with $854.5 million invested by 2022, per PitchBook.

  • That compares to $305.7 million in 2017 and $134 million in 2012.

Zoom in: As valuations of existing reproductive health companies soar, new startups scramble to fill existing care gaps. In the past few months, 6 early stage companies have received $85 million in funding and Maven Clinic became the first maternal and family health startup to achieve unicorn status after receiving $90 million in funding.

Yes but: While many of the industry’s companies focus on women and their reproductive systems, half of all infertility cases involve issues related to sperm, says Sophia Yen, a clinical associate professor at Stanford and CEO of Pandia Health, the telehealth company for women.

  • “This isn’t just an issue heterosexual women should be concerned about,” said Khaled Kteily, CEO of Legacy.
Data source: Data: PitchBook;  Graphics: Axios Visuals
Data source: Data: PitchBook; Graphics: Axios Visuals
Venture capital money flows into fertility technology

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