Q&A with Modern Fertility
Earlier this year the team at Modern Fertility reached out to introduce me to their at home fertility hormone test. I was intrigued to learn more about it and to learn more about what’s going on inside of my body! Although I am not trying for a baby at this moment, growing a family is something my husband and I are planning for in the future. So naturally I was curious to learn out more about what Modern Fertility could tell me about my hormones. The at home test was very straightforward and simple. Shortly after I shipped the test back out to Modern Fertility my results were sent to me online. I was happy to learn more about how my hormone levels relate to my ovarian reserve, when I could expect to hit menopause, and so much more including my options for the future. I found the Modern Fertility at home hormone test to be an insightful resource that provided me with a wealth of information about my body.
The science of fertility is complicated and it’s about time that it gets mainstream attention! The brilliant people at Modern Fertility have dedicated their lives to decoding this science–analyzing peer-reviewed studies with reproductive endocrinologists (fertility doctors), OB/GYNs, lab clinicians, and reproductive psychologists while accelerating fertility research of their own. Modern women deserve to know how fertility science is progressing and how to use it to inform decisions.
Many of you know that I exclusively work with women in my psychotherapy practice. As a modern women myself, and as a holistic psychotherapist that practices through a Mind Body approach, I am always looking for resources to provide my clients to better help them understand and connect with their bodies. Once I experienced the Modern Fertility test for myself I knew I had to share it with others. “Knowledge is power” may sound cliché, but it is true. Fertility is something we need to be talking about. Women are using personalized tools for managing their finances, careers, education, and hobbies, but when it comes to our reproductive health, it often feels like a black box. Cultural norms, legacy healthcare costs, traditional sex ed, and even the media have implied that women should just “wait and see” when it comes to fertility. Personally, I do not want to wait and see. For the first time ever, more women in their thirties are having kids than women in their twenties. We deserve choices and opportunities. With 1:6 couples currently struggle to conceive, there is a need for more education on fertility and how conceiving really works. There are still significant misunderstandings about the role of age in fertility. According to research 77% of women do not know that when a woman is 35 years or older, her age is a better indicator of her fertility than her overall health. The data shows what we’ve always known: when women are given the tools and resources they deserve, they have no problem taking charge. We need to break this cycle of being in the dark when it comes to our fertility —and information is the important first step.
I interviewed Modern Fertility’s Co Founder, Carly Leahy to learn more about the Modern Fertility and the at home fertility test. I wanted to dive deeper into some questions many of you may have about this insightful resource!
Let’s jump into the interview….
Interview with Carly Leahy
Modern Fertility’s Co-Founder
How did Modern Fertility start?
Our CEO Afton initially got the idea when she realized she was going to wait until later in life to start a family, and wanted to get her fertility hormones tested to navigate these decisions with information. Her OB/GYN told her “don’t worry, you’re young, you’ll be fine,” (a common response to women proactively requesting theses tests) but she didn’t want to wait and see. She got a referral to an infertility clinic—fortunately for her, she was in an urban area and able to visit one of the five hundred in the U.S. The consultation, testing, and interpretation of the results at the infertility clinic took months and totaled to $1,500 in out-of-pocket expenses, but she found the information to be incredibly eye-opening.
I, on the other hand, didn’t initially think I needed to be bothered with fertility information. I thought there wasn’t a place for that while I was heads down on my career and uninterested in babies in the near term. Shortly after first meeting Afton, I realized that fertility is about so much more than being ready to start a family—it’s about understanding your personal health and owning the decisions impacting your body and future. I suddenly saw fertility as one of the last major unaddressed frontiers in women’s empowerment.
So we decided to quit our jobs and build Modern Fertility to put the power of fertility knowledge directly into the hands of women. We think every woman deserves access to this important information about her body, so she can be her own best personal health advocate and plan ahead.
What does the Modern Fertility test measure?
At Modern Fertility we offer the same panel of fertility hormone tests offered in fertility clinics, but at home and for a fraction of the cost. We test up to eight fertility hormones depending on your birth control method (Anti Mullerian Hormone, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Estradiol, Luteinizing Hormone, Prolactin, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, Free Thyroxine, and Free and Total Testosterone) and they map to three general categories; Ovarian Reserve, Ovulation, and General Body. Women can get a better understanding of egg count, potential menopausing timing, possible success of treatments like IVF or egg-freezing, and conditions like PCOS or POI, which are all important windows into your reproductive health.
Do I have to want kids right now to take the Modern Fertility test?
Definitely not. In fact, we specify that Modern Fertility is a great tool for women who want kids, might want kids one day, or might not at all. Whatever your preference, we believe that women deserve to truly own that decision for themselves. In this case, information is power and information is for everyone.
We actually designed Modern Fertility to encourage a proactive approach where we check in our bodies long before we’re ready for kids. In many cases, Modern Fertility is the very first step for women thinking about their reproductive health in our adult lives, when oftentimes, we haven’t given this much thought since high school sex ed. The experience gives us a baseline for where we’re at and helps us start a conversation—with our doctors, partners, friends or ourselves.
Why haven’t I heard about this fertility test at my OBGYN’s office?
It was important to us that we build a consumer brand that women can directly turn to when they need something. We built Modern Fertility to feel like your best friend who went onto become an OB/GYN—she’s an informed expert, but also warm, empathic, available and talks to you like the smart, wonderful woman that you are.
That said, the Modern Fertility approach is complementary to OB/GYNs, and we’re seeing strong early interest from OB/GYNs in offering our test. The traditional healthcare system is inherently reactive and won’t recommend fertility hormone testing until a couple can prove they’ve been trying to conceive for a year, but many OB/GYNs recognize that modern women want more. They see Modern Fertility as a great option for them to be proactive and know their bodies, and then continue the conversation in their next regular check-in.
How are the Modern Fertility test results shared & presented?
Women receive personalized dashboards visualizing their results across the key fertility hormones they tested. We do not show any red or green colors, because there is no wrong or right—this is the human body and everyone is different. Women are also offered a 1-1 consult with a fertility nurse, webinars and access to our online community Modern Women to further discuss their results.
How accurate are the results of the Modern Fertility test?
We offer the same FDA-approved panel of fertility hormone tests offered in fertility clinics, but at home and for a fraction of the cost. This is the exact same science and methods that have been used for decades—it’s just being made more accessible.
We work with CLIA and CAP accredited laboratories, which ensure the highest degree of integrity for methods and process. Beyond their validation of our test, we felt it important to prove out our approach with our own IRB-approved clinical study, which demonstrated that the Modern Fertility home test is concordant with a traditional venous blood draw. This study later published in the Green Journal, the leading peer review journal by the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and a primary source of info for physicians and OBGYNs, as well as the New England Journal of Medicine. It also was selected for a prize paper presentation at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine 2018 International conference.
How can this fertility test help women plan for the future?
We have so many ways to monitor and plan for other important parts of our lives––our finances, careers, fitness and nutrition—but when it comes to our reproductive health, it’s a black box. We spend our lives preventing pregnancy (and have all the tools in the world for that) but planning ahead for kids it largely a game of “wait and see.”
Whether we are thinking ahead to a new job, entrepreneurship, going back to school, relationships or whatever else might be next, we deserve the opportunity to factor fertility into our roadmap so we can take better control of all aspects of our future.
Why is it important to keep regular track of our fertility & hormones?
Fertility hormone tests provide a window into your broader reproductive health. While no hormone or test can definitively tell you if you can get pregnant at a specific time, testing your fertility hormones every 9-12 months (the clinical recommendation) gives you an understanding of your ovarian reserve (egg count), potential success of IVF or egg-freezing, possible menopause timing and conditions like PCOS and POI. These are all important pieces in understanding our reproductive careers.
What makes Modern Fertility stand out compared to other at home fertility tests?
Modern Fertility is the most comprehensive hormone test that women can take at home, allowing women to test up to eight fertility hormones. We return all information in a personalized dashboard, and offer a 1-1 consult with a fertility nurse, webinars, events and access to our online community Modern Women. Modern Fertility is bigger than a test—it’s a proactive fertility experience that’s grounded in community, continued learning and the latest and best science.
Is there anything else LoveShayda followers should know about Modern Fertility?
Modern Fertility is based on a fundamental trust in women to do what’s best for them—whatever that may be. We are here to arm her with the information and resources she needs to navigate her reproductive career, which is only becoming increasingly complicated as we choose to have kids later and later in life and face a growing list of options. Unlike other companies, we do not benefit from a woman choosing a specific outcome, treatment or pill. Our product is education, and as a purveyor of information, we are uniquely positioned to be the neutral, clinically-sound resource that women need.
I hope this blog post was informative and that you found some of the answers you’ve been looking for surrounding the topic of fertility & hormone testing! If you want to learn more or if you are interested in ordering a test check out ModernFertility.com - If you follow along on Instagram you can enter the LoveShayda x Modern Fertility giveaway! Giveaway ends Sunday June 30th at 11pm EST, check out the instagram post for more details!
*The Content shared here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
*Statistics were provided by ModernFertility.com. [Methodology: The study shared was conducted as a cross-sectional survey to discover what women currently understand about fertility. This research was conducted by Modern Fertility’s research team in collaboration with Glamour’s (Magazine) editors, and was approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), ensuring the highest ethical standards for human research.]