No one ever expects conception to be difficult, so when your pregnancy tests are frequently negative, you’re left with several questions. And what do you do when you have questions? You Google them. However, the internet is not always your best friend when it comes to medical advice. How is anyone supposed to find reliable information on a topic not discussed widely enough, like infertility?
Arielle Spiegel found herself lost among unsuccessful doctor’s appointments and bogged down by research that didn’t provide clear solutions. So, she decided to change that.
Over the course of three chemical pregnancies, a Uterine Septum removal, three Intrauterine Insemination cycles, two In Vitro Fertilization cycles, and a crushing miscarriage before Mother’s Day (among many other challenges), Arielle felt there must be some way in which she could use her knowledge and Type-A organization skills to help others who are looking for answers too. Thus, began CoFertility, a resource for anyone to learn about treatment scenarios, cost breakdown, and funding opportunities for fertility treatment.
Tune in to hear Arielle’s story as she walks us through every up and down that led her to help others while also finding some success for herself.
Guests: Arielle Spiegel, founder and CEO of CoFertility
Host: Dan Bulger
Got fertility questions? Click here to browse CoFertility for more resources and education.
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
Dan Bulger: When a person decides to see a reproductive endocrinologist, one of the first things they want to do after having a brief conversation about their history and their goals, is what’s called an initial consultation. The initial consultation includes a series of tests, and it can provide a ton of information. Sometimes the initial amount of testing reveals a problem, but other times this testing comes clear of any issues at all. When that happens, the diagnosis is called unexplained infertility. Well, Arielle, and her husband’s tests all came back normal. So, the only known issue was the septum on her uterus. A uterine septum is a condition where the uterus has a wedge of extra tissue, called a septum, hanging from the top, which can make it difficult for an embryo to implant and grow.
What is CoFertility?:
Dan Bulger: What I think is so incredible about this story is that Arielle didn’t start CoFertility after “beating infertility.” She started the company while undergoing treatment. In fact, she was still undergoing treatment at the time we recorded this interview with her.
Arielle Spiegel: We aim to uncomplicate the fertility journey by providing every fertility question asked and answered. So, everything ranging from somebody who maybe isn’t trying, but their question might be as rudimentary as my own when I started out, which was, ‘How do I know when I’m ovulating?’ to somebody who maybe wants to understand how much IVF typically costs, who’s actually farther down on the journey.
Heart Surgery vs Infertility:
Dan Bulger: This isn’t how heart surgery works, right? If you need heart surgery, the surgeon is going to use the best equipment available. And the doctor will use techniques that will bring the best chance of success. If you go to a hospital for heart surgery, you’re going to get the best technology available. But with fertility treatments, it’s often on the patient to decide whether they want to use the best technology or not. And, when you’re paying out of pocket, you make those decisions, partly based on cost. It’s not the best way to do things. And that’s why our mission, at Progyny, is to bring comprehensive fertility coverage to more and more people.
Survey on Cost of Treatment:
Dan Bulger: CoFertility is a truly beautiful resource, and one of those resources is a survey that they put together about cost and fertility treatments.
Arielle Spiegel: 69% of respondents said that they have or would take out a loan to pay for fertility treatment or cut back on vacations and other expenses. We looked into how much time people were spending on the phone with their insurance provider, because of how much they’re spending. The vast majority were spending three to nine hours per month, with 15% spending over 10 hours a month, which is crazy, but I get it, I am that person. So, 86% of fertility treatment patients have forgone treatment recommended by their doctor due to costs. We titled the survey Money over Medicine because not only are people taking out loans, holding off on buying houses, or spending time with friends, or vacations, the costs are getting in the way of actual treatment.
Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the last six years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he as interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility. On a personal note Dan’s parents started fostering kids when he was four years old, and he considers himself a proud older brother to over 100 foster children.
CoFertility is a site that aims to un-complicate the fertility journey and make infertility suck less. With educational content, resources, and tools, Co provides helpful, digestible information about fertility and reproductive health all in one place—while keeping it real.
Prior to founding Co, Arielle led social media and partnerships at Victoria’s Secret PINK and Coach. She thrives on bolstering brand relevance among key audiences, especially when they involve first-to-market technology and media partnerships.
When she’s not busy changing the conversation about fertility, Arielle enjoys traveling with her husband, Max, and playing with their dog, Oliver. She also loves listening to podcasts, with favorites including NPR’s How I Built This and Big Fat Negative.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Andy G Cohen
Track: A Perceptible Shift
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Artist: Loyalty Freak Music
Track: I care
Artist: Rest You Sleeping Giant
Track: End of Winter