In a latest development, London-based healthcare startup, Béa Fertility has raised £800k before launching it’s at home fertility treatment kit later this year. The round was led by Calm/Storm Ventures and joined by QVentures including an innovation grant from InnovateUK Smart competition.
Béa Fertility founded by the embryologist David O’Rourke and femtech specialist Tess Cosad democratises effective and affordable fertility treatment for individuals and couples who are struggling to conceive. It is estimated that infertility affects 1 in 7 heterosexual couples in the UK.
Naturally, the initial step is to go for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatments, which are expensive and take physical and emotional toll. Some people are eligible for IVF treatment through the NHS, but meeting the range of criteria is difficult. Those who still want to continue with treatment have to cover the cost themselves. One IVF cycle costs £5,000 and one IUI treatment costs £1,500.
Béa Fertility will add a new step by enabling “IntraCervical Insemination” (ICI) treatment at home. Béa’s ICI method involves placing a small cup of semen close to the cervix, where it’s left in situ for 4-12 hours. During that time, women can go about their days normally.
By following 90 design iterations by UK’s leading embryologist, the Béa team believes that their product will increase the chances of conception by 40% if used over 3 months and 60% of used over 6 months. Béa’s ICI has scientifically proven efficacy rates as IUI treatments.
Béa Fertility will operate on a monthly subscription providing users with: two ICI devices, (for a widely approved clinical method called Double Insemination), ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, and access to an app to help track ovulation dates and the progress of their fertility journey. It will cost around £300 per month, meaning 5 months of the Béa ICI treatment will be the same price as one round of IUI at a fertility clinic.
Béa CEO and Co-Founder, Tess Cosad, comments:
“Our mission at Béa is to democratise access to effective fertility treatments; providing people with more options. ICI is clinically proven to be highly effective when it comes to increasing the chances of conception, but it’s not made available to people at the beginning of their fertility journey. Instead, they have to take a big leap into the expensive world of invasive treatments. But for people where there’s no medically identified issue causing infertility, ICI can be the ideal way of maximising their chances of getting pregnant. We’re designing a product that enables people to do this easily and affordably, all from home.”
“Infertility is sadly still a taboo and something we don’t talk enough about, meaning people often struggle through it alone. There’s something so empowering about taking your fertility journey into your own hands, and this is why I’m so passionate about launching Béa Fertility. Through Béa, we’re breaking down barriers, driving inclusion, improving access, and fundamentally cracking open the fertility market.”
“We’re delighted to be welcoming so many esteemed investors at this crucial stage of our journey, and I’m proud to have a diverse, balanced cap table. They bring critical industry expertise which will prove invaluable as we bring this life-changing product to market.”
David O’Rourke, Béa Co-Founder and embryologist, adds:
“I’ve spent many years working in fertility and feel passionately about widening access to a bigger range of treatments. I knew that ICI interventions had strong rates of success, but that they’d fallen by the wayside as fertility clinics focused on the more expensive IUI and IVF end of the market. That sparked the idea for an ICI treatment that could be easily handled by the couple, at home, helping them take control over the next step of their journey to conceive. We’ve gone through over 90 iterations of the product to reach the right balance of effectiveness and user-friendliness and we can’t wait to start helping couples improve their chances of having a baby.”
Lucanus Polagnoli, Managing Partner and Co-Founder at Calm/Storm VC, comments:
“Fertility issues affect a huge number of people. And whilst there’s been some disruption in the fertility tracking space, there’s been far less disruption in new products and technologies that support the actual conception process. That’s why we were so excited to hear about Béa. With Tess and David at the helm, we cannot wait to see this game-changing product change lives across the UK and beyond.”
Brian Hatton, Partner at Q Ventures, comments:
“QVentures are thrilled to join Tess and David, two very passionate entrepreneurs, on their mission to democratise fertility treatment. Individuals and couples with fertility and conception questions currently face a long and potentially expensive journey. Tess and David’s aim to lift the veil on this very personal process and help so many people is such a compelling story. We could not be more excited!” – Brian Hatton, Partner at QVentures
“QVentures is a Venture Capital firm providing direct investment opportunities and fund management. QVentures sources, screens, and invests in top-tier start-ups from Seed to Series B for their investor base consisting of Family Offices, Institutional Investors, UHNWIs, and Cashed-out Entrepreneurs. QVentures has participated in rounds totalling £220m across 115 companies.”