These startups are leveraging technology to help couples overcome infertility
India is home to nearly 27.5 million couples dealing with infertility, according to the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction.
When seeking medical solutions for infertility, many go through mental and physical stress in addition to the financial burden of trying to conceive. In India, where conversations around infertility are not very open, seeking help and exploring the options available also become difficult.
However, these startups are ensuring that couples - both men and women - feel comfortable talking about and finding solutions for infertility.
Former marketing professional Snneha Lukaa came across many ill-informed couples looking for medical solutions to infertility during her stint at consumer lending fintech startup Credit Fair.
This led her to start BabyReady, a Mumbai-based startup that is now providing end-to-end support to about 7,000 couples undergoing infertility treatment. Claiming to be the “Practo for infertility and other reproductive problems,” it helps couples find the right doctor and clinics, offer loans, and connect them with others going through similar processes.
Founded in 2020 with affordability in mind, many of the customers hail from Tier II and III cities. However, it begins by providing information on all kinds of treatment available including egg and sperm freezing, hysteroscopy, ICSI, IVF, and IUI. After connecting with gynaecologists and infertility specialists, those who have a monthly income of Rs 15,000 can avail of financial assistance with a no-cost EMI loan facility up to Rs 10 lakh.
The startup hopes to diversify offerings to aid couples in their journey of pregnancy and parenthood.
Seeds of Innocence
Seeing her sister disheartened after five failed IVF attempts, Dr Gauri Agarwal wanted to help women like her who bear the mental and physical hurt of infertility.
After completing MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune, and DNB from Coimbatore, she got trained in embryology and reproductive medicine at the National University, Singapore, and University of Ghent, Belgium.
In 2015, she launched the first centre of her bootstrapped IVF chain Seeds of Innocence in Delhi's Malviya Nagar. Today, it has more than 10 centres across 10 states in India - two in Delhi, one each in Ghaziabad and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Faridabad in Haryana, and the others in Patna, Bihar; Ranchi, Jharkhand; and Haridwar, Uttarakhand.
Elawoman is a Delhi-based data-driven fertility platform that provides video-teleconsultation, emotional and family counselling, legal support, medical loans, and medical tourism to couples who are trying to conceive.
It leverages artificial intelligence technology and deploys patient-doctor matching algorithms to increase the success rate of pregnancies. Founded in 2016, Elawoman has more than 5,400 doctors and fertility clinics listed in more than 32 cities with over 2.5 lakh users and receives more than 1,100 inquiries each day.
In 2018, the fertility platform raised $3 million in a Series A round of funding led by Chiratae Ventures along with healthcare and consumption focused co-investor Alkemi Venture Partners.
Dr Ajay Murdia started a fertility clinic with Rs 5,000 in Udaipur, Rajasthan when conversations around infertility, especially of male infertility were considered taboo. Today, he is joined by sons Dr Kshitiz Murdia and Nitiz Murdia who are ensuring their venture Indira IVF adapts to newer technology in the field of IVF.
Now among India’s leading IVF chains clocking Rs 850 crore turnover, it uses various technologies like RI witness™ technology, closed working chambers technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and microfluidics to look at infertility.
Indira IVF went on to establish training centres in 2017 under the Indira Fertility Academy catering to a mix of international students hailing from Liberia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Malaysia, Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, among others.
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