Friday, March 29, 2013

Technology to help you get pregnant

Mar 29, 2013
Startups & Venture Capital

Startup uses technology to help women get pregnant

Taryn Plumb, Special to the Journal

 Paris Wallace, CEO of Ovuline in Cambridge, says 2,200 women have conceived while using the startup’s Web and mobile tools.
 W. Marc Bernsau

The average woman is only fertile for four days out of every 28 – or just about 14 percent of the time. Due to that short window and numerous other factors, more than 10 percent of couples in the U.S. have trouble getting pregnant, according to Cambridge startup Ovuline.
Through its evolving fertility-tracking technology, Ovuline aims to decrease that percentage and enable women and their partners to take more control of their conception.
Launched in June 2012, the company has developed two products: Smart Fertility, which helps women keep tabs on their ovulation cycles, and Smart Pregnancy, which uses health tracking devices to monitor various factors from conception to delivery.
So far, 2,200 women have conceived while using Ovuline’s Web and mobile tools, according to CEO Paris Wallace. They’re getting pregnant in about 60 days, as opposed to the national average of four to six months, he said.
Ovuline’s processes can “significantly reduce the time to pregnancy,” Wallace said.
The company participated in the fall 2012 session of TechStars Boston, and employs seven. The startup is backed by $1.45 million in seed funding led by Lightbank, LaunchCapital, LionBird and TechStars CEO David Cohen.
The Smart Fertility application now has 35,000 users, Wallace said, with a Web version costing $50 and a mobile app $10 (free versions are also available for both).
When women sign up, the Smart Fertility application provides key health information that aids in personalizing the service.
From there, Ovuline’s algorithm technology — based on clinical guidelines and data points collected from users — helps identify when they’re ovulating, and provides a personalized plan with advice on what to do every day to increase their chances of becoming pregnant. They can also order various supplies, including pregnancy tests, thermometers and vitamins.
The program ultimately guides couples through the conception process, and the more time they spend with it, the more accurate the analysis becomes, Wallace said. With the data points collected from users, Ovuline is able to provide increasingly accurate predictions, he said.
“Really, the idea is to understand a woman’s cycle,” he said.
Tatiana Baron of Canton – wife of Ovuline chief technology officer Alex Baron – began using the product as soon as it went live, and she said she found it addictive. She logged in several times a day to input health information, write notes to herself and analyze patterns.
The result: She was soon pregnant, with her now 4-month-old son, Michael. According to Wallace, she was the first woman to become pregnant while using Ovuline.
“This was the first time we tried getting pregnant,” Alex Baron said, “and it worked.”
Meanwhile, the company’s other product, Smart Pregnancy, makes use of Wi-Fi-enabled body scales and wireless health tracking devices – such as the Fitbit tracker — to keep tabs on a woman’s weight, blood pressure, nutrition intake, activity and sleep cycles. A group of experts, — comprised of a dietician, prenatal certified trainer, pregnancy adviser, and program coach — monitor progress and offer personalized recommendations, or alert women if they see trends that could be worrisome.
The product will be available to the public in the third quarter of 2013, through the Web and an iOS app, Wallace said.

Original story link here.

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