Devices & Diagnostics, Startups

Maker of ‘natural’ cervical cap tool for infertility gets $6M

Pennsylvania upstart Rinovum Women’s Health is marketing a cervical cap tool – around for decades – that it says improves conception rates for women that have issues with fertility.

Conceiving a child can be challenging for one in six couples – leading to a boom in infertility treatments. Pennsylvania startup Rinovum Women’s Health has developed a “natural” stopgap to this option – and is marketing an over-the-counter device meant to help women optimize their chances of conceiving without physician intervention.

It just raised $6 million, according to a regulatory filing. The company’s distributing the product in the U.S. and Europe.

 

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The Stork OTC device, cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, works as a cervical cap insemination tool – a method used to help with home conception. As the company describes, the Stork OTC has a condom-like cap and a tampon-like delivery technique. It can be used for low sperm count and motility, pH imbalances in the vagina and other unexplained infertility issues, the company says.

While this concept has been around for a long time, the changing age in which women choose to have children and the growing knowledge surrounding fertility issues makes this an interesting time to boost the sale of a long-used technology. Particularly because the earliest studies found no improvement using the technique. A 1986 study says:

The cervical cap was used in artificial insemination (husband) in the home by 63 couples. An overall pregnancy rate of 19% occurred regardless of the duration of use, and a rate of 44% was associated with use for at least six months or until pregnancy occurred. Comparison of pregnancy rates between those in the program and those who dropped out and conceived without therapy revealed no statistical difference.

All the same, it’s an understandable approach when the alternative approach may be in vitro fertilization, which can run about $12,000 to $15,000. The Stork, by contrast, costs about $80.