The U.S. Air Force has inked a $1.3 million deal with MFB Fertility in order to provide military members and their partners the former’s home fertility tests.
The Air Force’s AFWERX office will invest in Proov, an at-home ovulation test with FDA clearance. The test works by measuring Pregnanediol Glucuronide (PdG), the urine metabolite of progesterone, which is released by the ovary after ovulation. High levels of PdG over multiple days can confirm that successful ovulation took place.
The contract will provide free Proov kits to Air Force couples upon request and connect them to fertility specialists.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Infertility is a common issue, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. It affects about 12% of couples in the United States.
The problem is even greater among military couples, however. A survey about reproduction from the Service Women’s Action Network found that 37% of respondents had trouble getting pregnant when they were actively trying to do so.
“While being in the Air Force for many years and understanding how the healthcare system works, I have seen colleagues and friends struggle to start a family,” U.S. Air Force Major Eric Straub said in a statement. “With the Proov technology, it is my hope to change the stigma surrounding the lack of fertility resources and provide proactive fertility diagnostics and treatment options for Airmen and their families.”
Through this contract, Air Force couples will have access to a possible first step in achieving their fertility goals.
THE LARGER TREND
In December of last year, the Air Force made a smaller investment of $50,000 into Proov through a Small Business Innovation Research grant. The original funds served the same purpose as the new contract – to provide free testing kits and fertility consultations to military couples.
In March, Proov got the FDA green light for its at-home ovulation test. The company rolled out its mobile app this spring, which shows users their progesterone and LH levels, as well as a graph of their hormone levels.
The AFWERX office was founded in 2017 to “connect Airmen to solutions across the force: whether that be funding, collaborating with industry, or simply receiving guidance on a project,” according to its website.
The Air Force has entered into other agreements with health companies in the past. In 2018, it entered into a patent licensing agreement with Philips Healthcare for Battlefield Airmen Trauma Distributed Observation Kit.
ON THE RECORD
“With this new contract from the US Air Force, we are proud to give simple fertility care access to couples who are trying to start a family,” said Amy Beckley, MFB Fertility’s founder and CEO, in a statement. “From our research, we saw significant issues in the lack of support and care from military couples trying to conceive. At Proov, we want to continue carrying out our mission to provide women with the knowledge and resources about their reproductive health that can help them conceive without the costly treatments and emotional and physical stress that I personally experienced.”