Aug. 8, 2013 — -- Two male tech entrepreneurs want to help women get pregnant. And not in the way you think.
PayPal co-founder Max Levchin and former Google executive Mike Huang launched Glow today, an iPhone fertility app that's different from the other popular options in the App Store. Instead of just tracking menstrual cycles, the app uses big data to give women more information about their reproductive health and provides information about the best times to conceive.
But if that doesn't help, the app also offers a premium service called Glow First, which will actually help pay for fertility treatments. Levchin, whose net worth is valued at $1 billion, is kicking off that program with a $1 million donation to the fund.
Within the free app women can track their ovulation data, menstruation cycle and sexual activity. That data is then fed to Glow's data scientists and physicians, who crunch it to better inform women on their optimal fertility window.
"With the app, we track a lot of data and we will do our best to mine the data and give personalized information," co-founder and CEO of Glow Mike Huang told ABC News. "As you enter more and more data it changes the data. For instance, it will say you have a 37 percent chance of getting pregnant today."
Huang, whose wife struggled with reproductive issues four years ago, explained that all the information collected by the company is anonymized, but that the more data that is shared, the more helpful and precise Glow will become. Yet for all that data that is collected it still personalizes. "Women's cycles vary quite a bit, we take a look at your data and make a calculation a lot more precise," Huang said.
But the app isn't just for women. Glow has created a partner version too so the woman looking to give birth doesn't have to go through the process all on her own. Huang also stresses that the app has been designed specifically to give users a warm and personalized experience.
An Insurance Alternative
Glow goes beyond the other fertility apps in another key way: it offers monetary assistance to those who ultimately do need fertility treatments.
Through Glow First, users can opt to pay $50 a month for 10 months -- the average time it takes most women to conceive. Then at the end of that period if a Glow First member does not have luck conceiving with the help of the app, they will get money from the contribution pool of cash, which will go directly towards costly infertility treatments or procedures.
"There will be women who need help and treatments, and they will have to pay out of pocket."
Glow says it is hard to say how much money will be divided at first since it depends on how many join the program and how many are successfully able to get pregnant, but Levchin's $1 million donation will give the program a nice cushion. Still, the goal of the not-for-profit program is to severely reduce the cost of expensive treatments. Glow will give the money straight to a fertility clinic of the women's choice.
The purpose of this part of the program is to address the issue that many healthcare and insurance organizations consider fertility treatments to be elective. Despite the fact that 12 percent of women in the U.S. that are of childbearing age have received infertility assistance, many insurance companies won't cover in-vitro and other procedures.
"Statistically there will be women who need help and treatments, and they will have to pay out of pocket," Huang said. "We are not an insurance company. Instead, we tried to think of a creative way to help these women."