Prelude Fertility. The $200 Million Startup That Wants To Stop The Biological Clock
Prelude Fertility17 October 2016
Today, Lee Equity Partners, serial entrepreneur Martín Varsavsky, Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA), and My Egg Bank North America (MEB) launched Prelude, a comprehensive fertility company focused on providing proactive fertility care to improve people's chances of having healthy babies when they're ready. With more people delaying childbirth until their 30s and 40s to complete their education, pursue careers or find the right partner, Prelude aims to give people more reproductive choices and control over their biological clocks using The Prelude Method. The Prelude Method is a four-step process that includes egg and sperm freezing, genetic testing, embryo creation and single-embryo transfer. Currently, around 18% of women never get to have a baby, and another 20% have just one baby when they wanted more. By coupling earlier decision making with the latest reproductive science and technology, The Prelude Method can dramatically increase the probability of having a healthy baby and decrease the chances of requiring infertility therapy later in life.
Forbes, "End of the Biological Clock," by Miguel Helft / Feature on Martin Varsavsky and the Prelude Launch:
PDF - http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/ENR/LeeEquityPartnersEndoftheBiologicalClock.pdf
Prelude has teamed with fertility industry leaders and clinical experts Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA) in Atlanta, and My Egg Bank North America. RBA is led by reproductive endocrinologists Andrew A. Toledo, M.D., Daniel B. Shapiro, M.D., and Zsolt Peter Nagy, PhD (embryology). Dr. Nagy and his team most recently contributed to significant improvements in oocyte cryopreservation using vitrification technology, which led to the establishment of the first highly efficient donor egg cryobank in the United States, My Egg Bank North America. Dr. Nagy was also employed as a medical scientist on the team that first developed intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a novel insemination method now utilized worldwide.
"Prelude is using vitrification and genetic testing of embryos to dramatically improve pregnancy outcomes," said Nagy. "The Prelude Method helps us advance My Egg Bank's mission to ensure people achieve their parenting dreams by literally freezing their fertility at its prime, instead of having to solve the issue of infertility later in life."
The Prelude Method, Explained
The Prelude Method is a four-step process:
1. Fertility Preservation
Women's eggs and men's sperm are frozen during their peak fertility years—their 20s and early 30s. Contrary to popular belief, it's not just women's eggs that carry risks associated with declining fertility. Advancing paternal age also has been associated with higher incidence of illnesses in offspring such as autism and bipolar disorder.
2. Embryo Creation
When clients are ready to start a family, eggs and sperm are unfrozen and combined to create embryos.
3. Genetic Screening
Before the embryo is implanted, parents are screened for common inherited diseases. If the results of this testing indicate increased risk to their offspring, the embryos are tested for the specific disease(s). Embryos are also tested for chromosomal abnormalities. As genetic screening improves, the number of illnesses that can be detected will rise over time, and so will the chances of having a healthy baby.
4. Single Embryo Transfer
An embryo is selected that will maximize the likelihood for a healthy birth.
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