In 2012 Jake Anderson and Deborah Bialis had just gotten married and were looking to start a family. There was only one problem. At 27, Ms. Bialis was told that a prior medical condition would make her chances of conceiving a child very slim. Distraught, the couple turned to a fertility doctor in hopes of finding a solution. Unfortunately, after two years, two doctors and three rounds of unsuccessful fertility treatments costing $75,000, the couple still had no results.
Conceiving the Idea
The couple then decided to take a different approach. Anderson was a partner at Sequoia Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and Ms. Bialis worked for a start-up called Rise, a mobile nutrition app. Using their previous experience, the couple quit there jobs to devote their time to a new venture, and thus FertilityIQ was born.
Disappointed by the lack of emotional support and information about the process, Anderson and Bialis decided to create a website where patients could submit reviews of their fertility doctors as well as connect with the doctor that will best fit their needs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over seven million women sought fertility treatment between 2006 and 2010, and with a 3 to 4 billion-dollar Fertility Industry, it was important for the couple to create a site that let users find the correct fit.
“What if you had a friend that had seen every fertility doctor?”
Essentially the couple has created a website that does just that. This “friend” or website is described by Bialis, “She’d know the strengths and weaknesses of every doctor and clinic in town, and the protocols they tend to use. She’d skip the generalities and jargon, and offer thoughtful advice based on your priorities, medical history, background and budget. She’d always keep your privacy in mind, and have only your interests at heart.”
Anderson and Bialis noticed that the most common methods to finding a fertility doctor were either a referral from a friend, or calling every doctor in the phone book. With the site, the couple wanted a more personal approach, with real patients giving honest reviews. Using detailed questionnaires, FertilityIQ provides a detailed profile of doctors, clinics, procedures, and cost. The financial commitment can cause a great deal of emotional stress, so finding the correct doctor and facility is incredibly important.
Currently, the site has profiles of about 80 percent of all U.S. fertility doctors and over 5,000 reviews from verified patients (patients must produce a bill to authenticate the review). Like all review-based websites, it will take time to acquire a mass of reviews to help authenticate the recommendations. For now, the site is free but eventually members will need to pay a fee to access the information. However, anyone providing a review will get free access to the website.
As their new brainchild begins to develop, so will their actual child. That’s right, after their long journey, the couple welcomed a baby boy into the world this past April.
For more information on FertilityIQ, click here