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With those words backed by a photo of a woman in her late 20s, early 30s, Prelude Fertility expresses all the emotional weight of its service. You are an independent, confident, powerful woman—and you want control over your fertility.
But as we recently shared, fertility today has gone far beyond a personal, emotional experience. As of 2015, Harris Williams & Co. estimated the U.S. fertility market to be between $3 to 4 billion. Globally, Technavio estimates the market could top $21 billion by 2020.
As long as we've been reproducing, infertility has simply been a fact of life for both men and women. Today, 6.7 million women in the U.S. experience "impaired fecundity" (the inability to have a child), according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. And yet that fact of life, no matter how devastating to the individuals faced with it, has received relatively little attention from researchers. In 2015, the National Institutes of Health spent $72 million on infertility research versus over $5 billion for infectious diseases, $1.6 billion for immunization, and $5.3 billion on cancer.
Naturally, given the potentially vast market and few strides made so far, fertility could be a huge hit for the healthtech player that gets it right.
Prelude Fertility wants to be the one. Officially launched last month, the company's primary service helps individuals save their eggs or sperm "when they are at their peak" so they can be used once the individual decides the time is right to have a child. Peak fertility years for both men and women, the company says, are one's 20s and early 30s. After that, not only does fertility decline, but the potential for offspring with various illnesses increase.
The Prelude Method—which includes egg freezing and preservation, embryo creation when ready to have a child, genetic screening for common inherited diseases and chromosomal abnormalities, and transfer of a single embryo—starts at $199 per month. The company offers two different product plans (with different down payments):
1. The Prelude Saver Plan – $3,000 down payment – includes:
- Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) Test
- Other fertility testing: Antral follicle count (AFC) or basal antral follicle (BAF)
- Carrier screening
- Ovarian stimulation medication
- Egg collection procedure
- Egg freezing/vitrification
2. The Prelude Conceive Plan – $10,000 down payment – includes everything above plus:
- Egg thawing
- Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS normal embryo screening)
- Embryo creation
- Embryo vitrification
Prelude says that after the four-year financing term, monthly storage of vitrified embryos and/or eggs drops to $99 per month.
In addition to the service for preserving eggs and sperm, Prelude Fertility also works with partners to facilitate egg donations. Donating eggs can be a lucrative moneymaking endeavor. Their first time and second time, donors receive $7,000 and $7,500, respectively. For the third donation and any thereafter, donors receive $8,000 each time, but Prelude limits each donor to a maximum of six donation cycles.
On the flip side of that equation is the donor egg recipient. In partnership with My Egg Bank (MEB) North America, Prelude targets women in their later 30s and 40s as potential candidates for getting pregnant with the use of donor eggs. Other common candidates include women with early menopause, poor egg quality, or a history of genetic disease. For donor egg recipients, pricing for one egg lot (6 eggs) is $11,000.
To date, Prelude Fertility has secured $200 million in private equity. As a private company, it does not disclose details about its financials.