FertilityIQ Lets Patients Review Their Fertility Doctors & Clinics

The site aims to save patients' time and money by helping them find the right doctor.

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Company Name: FertilityIQ

The gist: FertilityIQ is a website that lets patients review their fertility doctors and clinics to help others make more informed decisions about where to go for care.

Who will love the site? Anyone who’s ever struggled with infertility—that’s 12 percent of married women in the United States—or known someone who’s experienced difficulty conceiving a child or carrying a pregnancy to term.

Who will not love the site? Fertility doctors might be apprehensive. Who wants to be publicly graded? But the founders guarantee the majority of assessments are verified; users must send documentation that proves they’re patients of the doctor they’ve reviewed.

Months of agony, a visit to the emergency room, and two fertility doctors later, Deborah and Jake Anderson-Bialis knew they needed to launch FertilityIQ.

“There wasn’t any information online we found relatable to us,” Deborah says. “And offline, people were hesitant to talk about it.”

Couples often suffer infertility in silence to avoid having to admit “defeat” or “failure.” The husband-and-wife duo launched FertilityIQ with the intention of helping empower patients to speak out, so that they can, in turn, help others dealing with similar issues.

Through FertilityIQ, users can rate their doctors and clinics, as well as find the best doctor for them. To date, patients have contributed assessments on 75 percent of fertility doctors nationwide.

“Nothing like this really exists online,” says Jake, who acknowledges that on other review sites, “you don’t know what you’re reading, who wrote it, or whether you can trust it.” But FertilityIQ users have to fill out an 80-question survey depending on their treatment and provide proof they’re patients of the doctor.

“We singlehandedly read every single assessment before it gets posted,” Jake says.

Posts are anonymous, but do feature patients’ ages, race, income, when they were treated, the treatment they received, and their diagnosis, so users get data tailored to their own fertility history. Users can also see how likely, on a scale of one to 10, others are to recommend a particular doctor or hospital in their city and how to contact the clinic.

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“Our data shows Boston patients end up leaving their first fertility doctor,” Jake says. “They’ll see two on average. The costs of doing so are catastrophic.”

The average price of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle costs $12,400, according to national fertility association RESOLVE, while the average cost of an intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle rings in at $865.

The company received a boost when Erin Gates, the Boston blogger behind Elements of Style, commended FertilityIQ, saying in a post, “Finding the right doctor is so important in this process because it is so emotionally charged, but you also want to be efficient because fertility is time-sensitive and can be unbelievably expensive.” 

Gates was able to find her doctor through her readers’ recommendations. Most patients, however, don’t have that luxury.

“She has the benefit of 45,000 readers who can help,” Deborah says. “But she realized not everyone else has the ability to poll 45,000 people, so she really got the word out. She helped us accelerate in Boston.”

Deborah and Jake each have Greater Boston roots—Deborah, a Williams College alumna, and Jake, a Massachusetts native and Harvard Business School graduate. The two moved out to Silicon Valley so Jake could join venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. They describe their company as “Boston-focused and -originated,” though, because they’ve spoken with dozens of patients in the city, as well as several doctors working in both the private clinics and academic medical centers.

FertilityIQ is currently free for patients to use, although the founders will eventually charge an undisclosed fee for patients to access their data. To maintain their impartiality, Jake says, “We will not take a nickel from the doctors.” Down the road, the two plan to add new features to the site, such as a functionality that would allow patients to communicate with each other if they both opt in, as well as more in-depth content around surrogacy, egg freezing, and the right sperm donor agencies.

As for when they’ll be returning to Boston?

Says Jake, “If we weren’t giving birth and delivering here, we’d probably be back.”

Yes, the couple is expecting, and is hoping with FertilityIQ, others can, one day, say the same.