Welcome Modern Fertility
Written by Zachariah Reitano
Written by Zachariah Reitano
LAST UPDATED: May 19, 2021
5 MIN READ
Earlier this year, I received an email from someone I deeply trust that started with, “As you know, I have a passion to push you to raise the bar on your women’s health offering…”. The next day, she introduced me to Afton Vechery.
Anyone who has met Afton and her co-founder Carly knows they are absolute forces of nature. So it should come as no surprise that our first conversation lasted nearly three hours and what started as a conversation to get to know one another transformed into an unexpected brainstorming session and with my leaving with a massive reading list.
Fast forward to today and I couldn’t be more excited to announce that Modern Fertility is joining the Ro family. Afton, who will become President of Women’s Health at Ro, and Carly, who will become VP of Brand, Women’s Health, will together lead all of Ro’s women’s health initiatives.
What they’ve built over the last few years is nothing short of incredible. While the 100%+ YoY growth would make any VC swoon, what excited us most about Modern Fertility was their relentless focus on the customer, their unique perspective on fertility and women’s health, and the fact that Afton, Carly, and every single person on the team live and breathe MF with every ounce of their being. Modern Fertility started with Afton’s pursuit to understand her future fertility. She was met with resistance and a big medical bill and knew something had to be done to make fertility info more accessible, earlier. She teamed up with Carly to create, in our opinion, a women’s health company that is second to none.
Modern Fertility exists to help women own their fertility and their future. Rotating at the bottom of their homepage it reads in big bold letters — “Power in fertility info.” This sums up their essence perfectly. Modern Fertility is about reimagining fertility: making it proactive, accessible, supportive, personalized, clinically sound, affordable, all in service of giving you the ability to live the life you want. As Carly so eloquently said in an early brainstorm, “it’s about giving her the power to do whatever the fuck she wants.”
I’ve witnessed the “power in fertility info” first hand. My sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 6 and again at 13. She has frozen her eggs three times. She, at the age 33, is perimenopausal. But most importantly, she had a baby a year and half ago; my niece. Her name means ‘miracle’. She, as I did, had our dad, a physician, holding our hand and guiding us through every single health challenge we’ve faced. She had power in the information about her body that enabled her to live her life, her way. Everyone deserves that power.
While there is so much left to build to give everyone that power, there is also so much to be excited about today. Modern Fertility has taken a $1,000+ fertility hormone test and enabled any patient in 47 states to get access to the same information at home for just $159. They obsessed over the nutritional guidelines from leading OB-GYNs and decades of research to build an amazing prenatal vitamin, for whether you’re pregnant, trying for kids, or planning ahead. They launched ovulation and pregnancy tests that seamlessly pair with their mobile app to track your cycle and make it easier to predict the 2 days you’re most likely to get pregnant — whether your cycle is “irregular”or not. Last but not least, they have built a community of tens of thousands of people with ovaries who support one another and discuss anything from their health to their fertility to their careers and more.
Candidly, the benefits of joining forces were not immediately obvious to Afton when she and I first met. But if I’m being completely honest, it was immediately obvious to me how Modern Fertility would help accelerate Ro’s efforts in women’s health (all of the reasons described above and more). But from the outside looking in, it wasn’t obvious how Ro could help Modern Fertility. There is, and understandably so, a significant gap between the perception of Ro and the reality of what we’ve built. It’s on us, no one else, to bridge that gap over time.
This gap closed for Afton and Carly when I shared more about what Ro has built for patients.
While everyone knows we started by supporting men with sexual health, and we take tremendous pride in that, what they might be less familiar with is what we’ve built since. In the 42 months since Ro launched, we’ve facilitated over 6M patient provider interactions, have helped patients in almost every single county in the country and 98% of care deserts. We launched the first Covid Telehealth Assessment, and we were the first to launch a one of a kind in-home vaccination program, putting thousands of shots in arms and saving the lives of elderly homebound New Yorkers. We launched the FDA’s newest approved treatment for weight loss and helped patients with everything from skincare to allergies to sexually transmitted infections to smoking cessation. Last but not least, we recently launched a generic cash pay pharmacy with hundreds of medications for just $5 per month (saving my Pops, who is on Medicare, over $100 per month and thousands of other patients money on essential medications).
And that our vertically integrated primary care platform is what makes this all possible for patients.
I showed our patient application, where patients have control over their care, can message their provider 24/7, have free follow-up visits to make sure that treatment is optimized for them, and where they can see their most recent lab results with the press of a button. I shared our Collaborative Care Center (Ro’s EMR), where we’ve built superpowers for providers so they can care for patients holistically, from the basics like flagging contraindications and ordering labs to the more advanced like machine learning models highlighting relative risk factors or automatically routing patients to the optimal provider based on their specific concern, time sensitivity, provider expertise and current relationships on the platform. I shared our pharmacy operating system and logistic network that includes eight pharmacies fully powered by Ro across the country, with number 10 coming by the end of this year and number 15 by the end of next, so that 98% of patients across the country can get next day medication at the lowest possible price. I showed our in-home care platform where we can send a healthcare provider to the home of 95% of the US population.
All of this, a national doctor’s office, national pharmacy network, and in-home care seamlessly connected under one roof for patients. And, like Modern Fertility, what Ro has built is all in service of giving you the ability to live the life you want.
With this shared knowledge, we dreamt about what we could do together for women’s health and it made perfect sense to join forces.
From telemedicine to pharmacy to in-home care to at-home testing to intelligent tracking to research to community to retail — the possibilities are truly endless to build a holistic and vertically integrated care platform to guide people with ovaries through every stage of their life. We, both Ro and Modern Fertility are just scratching the surface (finally, now that the deal is closed, I get to say “we”, and I do it with such intense pride)!
Welcome Modern Fertility to the Ro Family. This is just the beginning.