Sama Fertility aims to make fertility processes easier, more affordable and more accessible for Americans
In the United States, the cost of a single round of IVF (in vitro fertilisation) for prospective parents is over $10,000 USD. Geographic access to fertility treatment is also restrictive to those living outside major metropolitan areas. According to a 2017 study, roughly 40% of American women have limited or no access to nearby fertility treatment facilities. But a startup called Sama Fertility, based in Princeton, New Jersey, is aiming to improve the situation for American patients. Sama believes it can reduce costs and time commitments for patients while also improving geographic access and diagnostic tools.
The fertility treatment process addresses patient needs via fertility clinics, which in turn rely on diagnostic laboratories for testing. But fertility clinics often use dated software with limited integration options, resulting in a costly and time consuming process for diagnostic laboratories to distribute tests. In 2021, CEO Sarthak Sawarkar founded Sama Fertility in order to address these pain points and improve patient outcomes. Sama set out to deliver a shared platform and marketplace for diagnostic tools, running analysis on genomic data and providing logistics and bioinformatics tools for technicians and clinics.
A pivot to patients
Sama built a suite of integrated tools which they began using for testing and training at fertility clinics across the US Eastern Seaboard. Within a few months, however, they realised there would be issues in implementing their system because of major inefficiencies in existing clinical processes. The monolithic fertility system needed disruption rather than gentle intervention. Despite being conceived as a software company, Sama is now pivoting to becoming a virtual clinic experience for patients around the US.
As part of Sama’s service, diagnostics will be conducted locally for patients and they will only need to attend Sama’s clinics for oocyte extraction (egg retrieval) and transfer. Sawarkar believes that decentralising care and improving geographic accessibility will drastically reduce the time requirements and expense for patients. Sama’s tools will assist local care providers in administering scans and aiding patients while board certified Sama employees will handle processes at the Sama clinics.
A path to progress
While Sama is intent on targeting the US IVF market because of the substantial costs patients are incurring, there are other opportunities on the horizon. Even in countries that offer more cost effective treatment, Sawarkar believes that Sama can offer further cost reduction as well as modern diagnostic processes. In the future, Sama will also be well placed to assist with other diagnostics during pregnancy. As Sawarkar points out, “Everybody's pregnancy is different … taking a very data structured approach towards setting up clinics and setting up care centres can potentially reduce that variability of experience for the patients.” But with the US fertility market forecast to be worth over $25 billion by 2027, Sama already has a great deal to disrupt.
Sama Fertility currently offers medicated timed intercourse cycles, fertility (egg) preservation and IVF as part of its services and is well on its way to providing a full suite of patient services up to the eight week point of pregnancy. The team is working on diagnostic innovations such as AI driven ultrasound with real time analysis and piloting at-home urine testing for hormone monitoring. Currently, Sama is in the process of acquiring its own fertility centre, a major step in creating a cohesive experience for patients. For Sawarkar, this is tremendously important: “Just because we are making things cheaper, it doesn't mean that we are actually taking away the high touch requirement that fertility treatment needs. These patients are extremely fragile. These patients have seen trauma that has been termed elective by most of the insurance companies.”
To learn more about Sama Fertility and their diagnostic tools and virtual fertility clinic experience, listen to Tim and Ali’s full chat with Founder and CEO Sarthak Sawarkar on our Artehouse Innovation series at
If you want to find out more about Sama Fertility, check out their website https://samafertility.com/ where you can sign up for a free trial.