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nnovation and the importance of choice
By Yee Ling CHANG
Fertility and reproductive health tend to be an afterthought for most individuals assigned female at birth. While today’s technologies for fertility and reproduction promise a high rate of success, many turn to them only as a last recourse when nothing else has worked. This is perhaps why there’s little public interest in the topic at present, but things could soon be changing.
The fertility business is today estimated to be a US$25 billion industry, projected to reach $41 billion by 2026. This represents a CAGR of 9.25%, largely brought about by changing lifestyles. Couples are putting careers first, starting families later, and the infertility rate is on the increase.
As a result of the demand, both long-established clinics and new ventures are seizing the moment to pioneer new business strategies. From hardware and diagnostics to community-driven fertility tracking apps, the startup space is burgeoning with new companies addressing everything from egg freezing to fertility testing and pregnancy planning.
On the topic of personal fertility management and reproductive health, we recently interviewed Wan Tseng, Brand Manager of Taipei Fertility Center. Wan shared her thoughts on how progressive Taiwan is regarding fertility management and reproductive health, approaching it with a comprehensive blend of Western and Eastern medicine. Coupled with Taiwan’s top-quality healthcare system, the country sees the highest success rates for in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Asia.
The discussion goes beyond just egg freezing and IVF; Taipei Fertility Center believes in its responsibility to society. Thus, educating women through different stages of their reproductive health is also a priority. TFC encourages all women to plan ahead and think about their reproductive health and fertility from their early 20s, starting with how overall wellness and a healthy diet can regulate the aging process of one’s ovaries and eggs.
If anyone with female reproductive organs should choose to have a child now or later, their 30s would be a good time to map out options based on their career, their choices, their body, and whether they want to have a partner or not. Crucially–and this is why such developments are important–options like egg freezing open up the possibilities of when, how, and with whom to have a child.
Apart from conducting regular talks to educate and raise awareness, TFC also wants to use branding to change the perception of fertility treatments. TFC’s clinic does not feel sterile–the space looks more like a bookstore or a hotel lobby, and the consultation rooms like a spa. The customer journey was
designed with the goal of making clients feel comfortable and calm, and communicating the fact that fertility management need not be a last resort, but rather a personal life choice.
Although procedures like egg freezing and IVF have become more accessible today, they still come with risks. Every individual will experience it differently; thus, talking to and learning from others who have been through the process can be invaluable. The community aspect and need for social and emotional support cannot be ignored. Acknowledging this, there are startups in this space focused on education and community such as FertilityIQ and Opionato, helping people who are considering or in the process of egg freezing and IVF fill in knowledge gaps and find support.
Above all, having children is a deeply personal choice and should not be a distant dream for anyone who wants to start a family, no matter their background, age, or gender assignation. Advancements in fertility technology–beyond egg freezing and IVF–and resources for education and awareness are making it possible for women from across the gender spectrum to have biological children.
At the end of the day, biology and time certainly present many obstacles, some of which can’t be outmaneuvered. However, through being resourceful and having realistic expectations, we now have the opportunity to at least try, and that is definitely something to embrace.
About the Author
Yee Ling is Content Director at CAREhER, the only bilingual platform that takes a comprehensive approach to personal and professional development for women. CAREhER offers resources for learning, such as podcasts interviews with women business leaders, and organises online & offline networking events.
Originally published in Jumpstart Magazine Issue 31 as ‘With Technology, Options Abound’