When you hear the word biotechnology, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s robotic limbs, or people working in futuristic-looking lab spaces, or simply, human cells. However, a word that may not immediately come to mind is family.
The introduction of in vitro fertilization, or IVF for short, has had drastic effects on families facing difficulties having children. IVF helps with conception of children through a series of medical procedures. This includes collecting eggs from the ovaries, fertilizing them with sperm in a lab, and then implanting the fertilized egg in the uterus, where it can then grow without further assistance.
Without the use of IVF, there are more people who are unable to conceive their own children than one might guess. Both women and men can be prone to infertility for various reasons and millions more can be affected by sudden health issues such as starting chemotherapy treatment.
Additionally, younger generations have exhibited a trend to start families later in life to prioritize their careers. This shift in family timeline has led to conclusions that infertility has become an increasingly modern issue, given that age plays a major role in the ability to successfully get pregnant.
The scope of infertility is so extensive that “in 2010, an estimated 48.5m couples worldwide were infertile.”
Historically, infertility brought societal shame to women and pregnancy was a natural right reserved solely for traditional heterosexual couples. Given all the ways in which the vulnerable experience of trying to get pregnant had been limited by health problems, insufficient technology, or societal constructs, IVF has been championed as a miracle unto the emotionally taxing experience of infertility.
Despite IVF’s success, the process certainly isn’t ideal. First off, financial constraints are definitely a factor because a single round of IVF averages around $17,670. On top of that, IVF isn’t always a guaranteed success. 40% of women under 35 are successful in IVF pregnancy, compared to 4% of women over age 42.
Since its initial procedures in the US in 1987 through 2015, over 1 million people have successfully used IVF. In more recent years, that number has only continued to grow, leading to an overwhelming demand put on many unprepared IVF clinics. IVF popularity is skyrocketing faster than its technology had been able to keep up with. That is, until very recently.
Given that IVF has so much potential to fill, it’s no wonder that hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into the field. Now, certain companies on the forefront of development are promising more reliable, accessible, and efficient IVF treatments than ever before.
TMRW is one of those companies to keep an eye on. Leading the way in fertility innovation, the 2018 start-up “revolutionizes the management, identification, and storage of fertility cells – replacing the error-prone manual and analog methods that have remained largely unchanged since IVF was first used in animal husbandry more than fifty years ago.”
By integrating technological advancements into the process of IVF, TMRW is able to track and protect reproductive cells and embryos with the utmost care. TMRW’s advancements will safeguard these precious cells as the fertility industry becomes more mainstream, bringing millions of healthy babies into loving homes.
It’s predicted that 300 children will be born with the help of IVF technology over the course of the next couple of decades. It’s clear that biotech fertility companies have a big challenge to step up to in order to meet rising demand. More importantly though, these same companies will be able to relieve the agonizing obstacles of infertility. With a promise to improve the world, biotech will increasingly transition from a complicated, distant concept to obtainable success stories.
If you liked this article, check out our podcast episodes: Meenal Lele – Stopping Allergies from Getting Started and Ju Rhyu – Scaling a Single Product Business
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