Michelle Obama recently revealed that in her 30s, she underwent in vitro fertilization to conceive daughters Sasha and Malia.
"It turns out that even two committed go-getters with a deep love and robust work ethic can't will themselves into being pregnant," Obama writes in her memoir, "Becoming."
It's an example of how fertility has reached an inflection point of sorts: Problems that were once whispered about are now becoming part of a public conversation. And as women become first-time mothers later in life (most are now over 30) and as more single people and same-sex couples opt to have children, fertility treatments have become a more mainstream option.
Yet despite the cultural shift, navigating the world of fertility treatments, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, is still incredibly complicated for many hopeful families. New York City-headquartered fertility benefits start-up Progyny is trying to help change that.
Progyny negotiates contracts for fertility treatments, then bundles those services, as well as access to a network of fertility specialists, into coverage plans that it offers to large, self-insured companies. Procedures including IVF and egg freezing as well as options including surrogacy and adoption are covered and patients have access to services from more than 600 fertility specialists nationwide, according to its website.
"We only focus on fertility," Progyny CEO David Schlanger tells CNBC Make It. "We have shown that by having a hyper focus on one condition that you actually can solve a few problems. You can have better patient experience, you can have better clinical outcomes and you can actually spend an employers' dollars that are devoted to fertility treatments much more efficiently and effectively."
The company, which was created in 2015, currently has 110 employees. Progyny declines to share revenues, but its roster of clients includes the likes of Facebook and Microsoft, and that list is growing rapidly.
"We're entering 2019 with 77 large employer customers...up from five in 2016," CEO Schlanger says.