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Fertility app offers to fund treatment for women who can't conceive

12 August 2013
Appeared in BioNews 717

A fertility app has been launched that will help pay for treatment for women who are unable to conceive after ten months of using the program.

Users can opt in to the Glow First scheme via the free iPhone app Glow, described by its developers as 'the world's first and only fertility funding community'.

Glow aims to help women conceive by collecting information about menstrual cycles, cervical mucus and emotional states to provide personalised fertility updates based on recommendations from medical professionals.

Those who choose to participate in the Glow First scheme make monthly payments of US $50 for up to ten months or until they become pregnant. The money is pooled to put towards infertility treatment for the women are unable to conceive using the app. Those who become pregnant don't get their money back, but those who are unsuccessful get a share of the pooled money towards fertility treatment at an 'accredited clinic of [their] choice'.

Glow has been set up by Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal, and Mike Huang, a former Google executive. To kickstart this not-for-profit scheme, Levchin has donated US $1 million of his own money.

The developers hope to crowdsource more information, with predictions becoming more accurate as the number of users, and the amount of data, increases. Huang stated: 'With the app we track a lot of data and we will do our best to mine the data and give personalised information. As you enter more and more data it changes the data. For instance, it will say you have a 37 percent chance of getting pregnant today'.

'We're basically crowdfunding babies', Levchin told website All Things D.

However, Les Funtleyder, a health care strategist, told the Financial Times: 'Who's going to use a fertility app but people who are having trouble conceiving? I'm a tad skeptical that they will have better actuarial data than some of the enormous insurance companies. But if they have a secret sauce, who knows?'

One of the main concerns is getting enough women to regularly use the app to provide the vast amount of data they will need, but Glow are working with fertility centres to help recruit participants, such as Shady Grove Fertility in Washington, USA.

Fertility App Will Pay For Fertility Treatments If You Can't Get Pregnant
ABC News |  8 August 2013
Glow: An iPhone App That Aims to Get You Pregnant
Time |  8 August 2013
Glow First
Glow |  9 August 2013
PayPal co-founder finds fertile ground for growth with Glow app
Financial Times |  8 August 2013
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