It’s no secret that reproductive healthcare in the United States leaves much to be desired for hopeful families, and it’s not trending in a positive direction.
The World Health Organization revised their estimates in April 2023 from 1 in 8 struggling with infertility to 1 in 6. With roughly 450 fertility clinics throughout the United States, most of which are clustered around big cities, and only about 50 reproductive endocrinologists entering the workforce each year, access to quality services is a challenge.
Frame seeks to change that. Rooted in evidence-based information and clinical research, they are the only comprehensive, trusted, B2B2C solution that touches every part of the family-building journey.
“As a country, we’re missing the bar on fertility education,” said Jessica Bell van der Wal, CEO and Co-Founder of Frame.
“As women, we're often not taught much about reproductive health during our teens or even our twenties. So, when we are actively trying to build families, we have no knowledge about how hard it can be or what to look for.
“Making our services accessible virtually means it's not just in the big cities. At Frame, we provide you with a dedicated coach throughout the journey as well as access to clinical care, nutritionists, and more. It's a more approachable, less intimidating experience because a lot of people are afraid to even ask these questions of their doctor. You don’t have to turn to TikTok for answers. With Frame, you have one place to go.”
Service plan options at Frame are broken out based on each stage of the family building journey, due in large part to what they were seeing customers request in terms of service offerings. Bell van der Wal notices a significant differentiation in generations. While Millennials are more likely to be in the thick of it and actively needing services, Gen Zers are being more proactive.
“They're more hungry to learn about their health earlier. They're looking for ways to track things. They're looking for ways to plan in advance,” Bell van der Wal said. “They're also mindful of finances. They’re trying to think downstream - how do I kind of de-risk any challenges? We’re seeing a huge uptick in Gen Z individuals looking at egg freezing or embryo freezing. They aren’t sure if they want kids, but they want the knowledge and the information.”
In addition to listening to the voice of their customer, Frame has also been able to accelerate, test and pilot initiatives because of their participation in the 1501 Health’s second cohort. Bell van der Wal cited having both the provider and payer lens as being helpful, and the results of a pilot with LifeBridge Health gave the team tangible feedback from a clinician perspective that they were able to incorporate into their services.
“More than anything, they feel like an extension of our team. I think that's the way that 1501 Health was built,” Bell van der Wal said. “It didn't feel like we got into 1501 Health and had to resell everybody. They asked, ‘How do we help? How do we help make your solution more impactful and reach more people?’ That approach is unique within the accelerator space.”
Bell van der Wal has been inspired by the influx of people wanting to work in healthcare and are excited about the possibilities for the future of the industry.
As someone who is motivated by personal experience, passion, and purpose in her work, she advised other aspiring founders to keep that passion and purpose clearly within their sightlines as they move through healthcare entrepreneurship.
“At the end of the day, I look at my 3-year-old daughter who we almost didn't have, and it reminds me to keep going,” Bell van der Wal said. “This is hard work. It is really hard work, and you may have these moments where it feels like you don’t know why you are doing what you’re doing. Having that inner motivation, that inner passion, is so critical.”
And Bell van der Wal is using her passion to help other families across the country.
About 1501 Health
1501 Health is a unique partnership between Healthworx and LifeBridge Health, representing expertise in both health insurance and financing (payers) and healthcare delivery and services (providers). The investment and incubation program empowers entrepreneurs to get their innovative solutions to market and expand their impact in healthcare quality, access and affordability. To learn more about 1501Health, visit www.1501Health.com.
Healthworx operates at the intersection of healthcare and innovation by creating, co-creating and investing in companies that are improving healthcare quality, accessibility, affordability and equity. As the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Healthworx envisions a healthier future for all people by changing the way health works. To learn more about Healthworx, visit www.healthworx.com.
About LifeBridge Health
LifeBridge Health is one of the largest, most comprehensive providers of health services in Maryland. LifeBridge Health includes Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Grace Medical Center and related affiliates. For more information, visit www.lifebridgehealth.org.