Startups

Startup Helps Millennials Plan For (And Afford) Their Future Family

Kids these days. Millennials are using FinTech to pay back their college loans, cover health care expenses and now, through FinTech startup Future Family, to get pregnant.

More and more women are waiting until their 30s to have children. There are plenty of good reasons for that: Millennials are getting married later, and having kids is expensive. But the biological clock waits for no woman. Waiting might make sense socially and financially, but it often leads to fertility problems.

Fertility care is on track to become the most pressing stressor and health expense for millennials over the next decade-and-a-half, according to a press release by Future Family. One in eight couples struggle to conceive, and nearly 7 million women have used in vitro fertilization and other fertility services.

That’s expensive in its own right. Egg freezing starts at $14,000. In vitro fertilization costs $20,000 a round, and it rarely works the first time. The process can total upwards of $50,000 per family, due up front. That’s more than the average woman’s annual salary ($49,400 for women ages 35 to 44).

The U.S. fertility industry is worth an estimated $3 billion to $4 billion. Globally, the industry totals $9 billion and is projected to skyrocket to $21.6 billion by 2020.

All that to say that existing fertility solutions are really only available to the wealthiest 1 percent. It’s hard to even measure the full extent of the problem, because finances often keep the other 99 percent from ever pursuing the option.

Future Family founder and CEO Claire Tomkins, a former SolarCity executive, was lucky enough to be in that 1 percent. Still, by the end of six rounds of in vitro fertilization (and, finally, a successful pregnancy), she had realized that women needed a better option.

 

“We’re completely rethinking fertility,” Tomkins said. “We’re bringing personalized care, technology and financing to an industry that is currently servicing a few hundred thousand but should be helping millions. Future Family is the service I wish I had when I was going through my journey.”

Future Family’s FinTech model offers alternative credit to unlock the opportunity to start a family for women who thought their only option was to give up hope. Its flexible financing structure enables women to start their fertility journey with no down payment.

From there, for less than the cost of leasing a car, they can start in vitro fertilization for $125 a month. That includes all clinical costs and medications, plus 24/7 support by phone, email or video chat from a fertility concierge assigned specifically to them. Or, if they’re not ready to get pregnant yet, they can do egg freezing for $75 per month.

This accessible pricing is possible because of the Future Family business model. Like any lender, they make their money on the spread between the cost of funds and rates charged to borrowers – and allocate some of those proceeds to pay doctors and service providers in its network.

The financial structure is not the only thing that makes Future Family unique. Until now, there hasn’t been a full-service fertility care option for women and couples trying to plan for the future – only reactive and depersonalized care. This is the first comprehensive solution to give women flexibility and ownership of their experience, and it’s all easily accessed via smartphone or web portal.

Prior to Future Family, it would have cost a woman $600 worth of doctor visits and labs to gather information about her fertility. Future Family has pioneered an affordable, consumer-friendly home Fertility Age Test that gives women ages 20 to 45 a window into their current and future fertility by testing the same three hormones that a doctor would test – and it does it for less than $300.

 

The results of this test could influence a woman’s decision to freeze eggs for future in vitro fertilization. Maybe she’s single now but wants the insurance that she’ll be able to start a family in five or 10 years when she’s ready. The Fertility Age Test tells her how soon she needs to do that and sets her on the right track, guided from beginning to end by a dedicated Fertility Nurse Concierge.

“We need to start talking about fertility earlier, and we need to make fertility health care accessible to all women,” Tomkins said. “It’s not affordable, it’s confusing, and it’s incredibly isolating.”

Future Family was cofounded by Tomkins and Eve Blossom, a social entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience building social value companies such as WE’VE.

Medical Advisor Dr. Lynn Westphal pioneered egg freezing for cancer patients more than 20 years ago and now serves as director of fertility preservation and third party reproduction at Stanford Medicine.

Head of Engineering Frey Waid was a founding member of YouTube before spending 15 years leading technology teams at Google.

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