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Modern Fertility + Ro: Accelerating change in women

Modern Fertility + Ro: Accelerating change in women's health

4 min read

I am so incredibly excited to share that Modern Fertility is joining Ro, the leader in patient-centric digital health, to create real, lasting change in women’s health! Together, we’re building a vertically integrated platform where women have more power over every step of their health journey.  

The Modern Fertility brand, products, and community you love will remain as we transition over to lead the women’s health vertical of Ro. As part of this, you’ll see expanded services and tools, and we’ll continue to drive reproductive health research to improve fertility science and outcomes for every person with ovaries.

As a founder, it’s a really intense decision to sell your company. It’s not something my co-founder Carly and I take lightly, or something that we were planning for — and believe me, we are planners. But as we got to know the Ro team, the idea of Modern Fertility being “sold” completely evaporated. It became clear this acquisition meant an expansion of Modern Fertility — of our values, our community, and our offerings — and an opportunity to impact the lives of more women.

So, how did we get here?

It started with a fact that, quite frankly, enrages me: Women’s health is reactive. We often only get information or care when we’re already having an issue. This is especially problematic in fertility because we’re waiting longer to have kids, and our biology hasn’t changed. By the time we get care, it can be too late. Over the course of building Modern Fertility, I’ve heard from (literally) tens of thousands of women who, like me, were curious about fertility but not ready to have kids. They found it almost impossible to get personalized fertility info on their own. Infertility is on the rise — 1 in 6 couples have trouble conceiving.

In 2017, Carly and I started Modern Fertility to transform fertility from reactive to proactive, and help people take ownership of their reproductive futures. We set out to build the personalized platform for women’s health. We started by helping her answer the question “What can I do today if I might want kids one day?” Our vision was to eventually apply this proactive approach across all of women’s health and support her every step of the way through menopause.

We began by making the same fertility hormone tests offered in infertility clinics (typically only available if you’re experiencing infertility) more accessible to women earlier in life, at a fraction of the cost. The Modern Fertility Hormone Test made it possible for women to understand their fertility earlier, so they could get ahead of issues and start conversations with their doctors. We validated the at-home test with a study, which was published in the leading peer-reviewed journal for OB-GYNs. Since then, we’ve published over 14 papers and abstracts, and built out one of the largest longitudinal datasets of biomarkers, phenotypic data points, and outcomes on the fertility timeline. We’re on a mission to uncover the "why" behind infertility and work toward a future where every person with ovaries can predict their chances of getting pregnant.

By 2020, we had built the foundation of the lifelong platform for women's health. We integrated clinical fertility testing, cycle tracking, daily health products, and community in one place so people can understand their bodies and have better outcomes.

In early 2021, we went out to raise our next round of funding. Amidst the process, I was introduced to Z, the CEO of Ro. I’ll admit, I was skeptical. We were laser-focused on building every inch of the Modern Fertility platform ourselves and we had lined up the terms to finance it all independently. I initially declined the meeting. But Z, to his credit, was persistent. I finally took the call, and what was supposed to be an hour-long introduction turned into a three-hour discussion about the future of healthcare.  

Z and I had both started companies out of deeply personal experiences with gaps in the healthcare system — and both of us had made it our life’s work to solve them. We share an obsession with building a healthcare system that is entirely personal and proactive, and one with incentives that are fundamentally aligned with the best interests of people. Z walked me through Ro’s roadmap for building a patient-centric healthcare system and I walked him through the future of the Modern Fertility platform. It was eerily similar. Our goals were the same — we’d just come at them from different angles.

My Zoom calls with Z made me realize that there was another path we could take to support women. I reflected on the countless conversations I’ve had with people who felt unprepared and disempowered in their fertility journeys, and whose careers, savings, and lives went sideways because of it. When it comes to improving women’s health, we — quite literally — don’t have time to lose. Modern Fertility and Ro could do so much more for women in much less time than either of us could alone.

Together, we’ll support women with the proactive tools, education, and community that they expect from Modern Fertility — plus the follow-up care they need using Ro’s infrastructure. That can mean Modern Fertility telehealth consults with staff physicians if you’re prepping or struggling to conceive, prescription medication and supplements delivered to your door at lightning speed, even in-home care – the possibilities really are endless. On that note: Modern Fertility will continue to hire aggressively across all functions (send us your resume!).  

To the thousands of people with ovaries and physicians across the US who have helped us reshape fertility: You have absolutely blown us away. From raising your hand to say "Yes, I want to own this info about my body," to digging into the science, showing up for one another in the Modern Community, and helping to spread awareness  — you have helped us reshape fertility. You have made fertility something that is normal to talk about. We have accomplished so much together and, truly, we are just getting started.

It’s past time to accelerate the change I know we all want to see in women’s health. I will sign on the dotted line any day to make that change happen.

Let’s do this!

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Afton Vechery

Afton is the co-founder and CEO of Modern Fertility.

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