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SF Fertility Startup Aims To Make Starting A Family Easier

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- A recent survey showed that the U.S. Birthrate hit a 32-year-low last year. One major reason is many people are having kids later.

Now a Bay Area startup wants to make it cheaper and easier to start a family.

Fertility treatments can be very expensive. Future Family is offering financing plans for treatments that include monthly payments to cover everything from doctor visits to prescriptions. It's also providing a support system.

36-year-old Shadi Mehraein and her partner want to start a family one day.

"I did not realize how stressful and kind of how emotionally taxing it could be," said Mehraein.

She says she started to explore her options by turning to Google and quickly became overwhelmed.

"We were like, 'Eggs? Embryos? Help!'" she explained. "What's the difference? What should we do?"

Shadi and her partner decided to freeze their embryos after consulting with a registered fertility nurse provided by Future Family.

Personal coaching is just one way the company helps patients navigate the fertility process from start to finish.

"IVF is really becoming the new normal. It's very much how people are starting their families today, given that so many of us are having kids later in life or may face different challenges," said Future Family CEO Claire Tomkins. "So it was really that experience of going through IVF that made me realize there were things that we could do in the tech world to make it a better experience."

Tomkins spent about $100,000 on six rounds of in vitro fertilization to conceive her now four-year-old daughter, Natalie. She later had 18-month-old twins Lucas and Audrey, also through IVF.

Her goal is to make fertility care more affordable nationwide. On average, one round of IVF can cost at least $15,000.

According to the CDC, 12 percent of women suffer from fertility problems in the U.S.

"We offer a comprehensive solution that brings together fertility coaching with some of the best experts and registered nurses in the country. And then we also pair that with some really modern financing packages for couples," Tomkins said.

For example, one IVF plan for example, starts at $300 dollars a month for 60 months. Interest rates start at seven percent.

"I think it's terrific that they're presenting some different ways to afford IVF, because a lot of people just don't have that cash on hand," said NerdWallet columnist and certified financial planner Liz Weston.

Weston says the problem with IVF is that no matter how you pay, there are no guarantees of conceiving a baby.

"Having the membership option could be a way in," added Weston. "With all of these programs though, with any type of situation where you're signing yourself up for significant payments going forward, you want to read the fine print."

For women who are earlier on in the process, Future Family just launched a $199 annual membership that includes live video sessions with a fertility coach and doctor matching.

For more information on Future Family and the services the company provides, interested parties can visit their website.

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