Who better than a young, infertile, female scientist to come up with an OTC pharmacological test as first-line offense in early diagnosis of infertility? Enter now-39-year-old Amy Galliher-Beckley to blow all my theories out of the water - namely, that a biotech/genetics/pharma company can actually be founded in one's basement.

Denver-based MFB Fertility ("My Fabulous Basement") created Proov Progesterone Test to test for a fertile woman's expected progesterone surge each month. Amy Beckley noticed a decade ago that "Women who go through IVF protocols all are offered progesterone." Beckley says, "If you are not going through IVF, most doctors don't talk about progesterone, they don't offer progesterone, they don't test for progesterone."



Beckley finds it frustrating that most Infertility doctors do not test for progesterone until a woman's had at least three miscarriages. "The person who invented this rule that you cannot be tested for recurrent miscarriage has got to be a male," states Beckley matter-of-factly. 

MFB Fertility created Proov Progesterone Test to bridge that gap of unrest between OTC tests and at-home Fertility tests versus doctors' tests. Beckley is a PhD Scientist who wants to enable women to have more information about their bodies and to ask better questions. 

Beckley explains that "progesterone is yin to the yang of estrogen", not estrogen's "ugly stepsister". She explains that after ovulation occurs, the corpus luteum (leftover follicle) produces progesterone. The progesterone level needs to be high enough for long enough to be receptive to the embryo implanting into the uterine lining. "When your progesterone crashes too quickly, it is called a luteal phase defect," Beckley explains.

Beckley states that progesterone should stay elevated for at least 11 days, and 10 ng/ml minimum is thought to support pregnancy. Proov comes with seven testing sticks and directions. The tests will read either positive or negative. 

"What our test focuses on is getting women pregnant (tracking before pregnancy)." Beckley contrasts Proov testing with the ovulation testing sticks currently on the market and natural temperature and cervical mucous tracking methods. Proov is the first at-home / OTC fertility test in the world to test for the vital baby-supporting hormone progesterone. 

As Beckley points out, the current protocol amongst Fertility physicians is to prescribe supplemental progesterone suppositories or injections after insemination attempts (and usually only for IVF patients). This is almost always after the fact of numerous unexplained and traumatic miscarriages. In Beckley's case, her luteal phase defect, combined with attrition in the thawing of embryos, was causing lots of unexplained miscarriages. 

"Low progesterone is the number one cause of unexplained infertility," says Beckley. To create her Proov test, Beckley contracts laboratory space as needed and conducts all her manufacturing in the USA, in FDA-registered, ISO-Certified Facilities.

Beckley says that is is a well-known statistic that 60 percent of frozen embryos can be successfully thawed equalling live births. However, Beckley cites a less than 20 percent thaw rate for eggs frozen 10-20 years ago, and only a 7-10 percent documented live birth rate from frozen eggs.

Dr. Amy beckley, PhD - founder, CEO and inventor of Proov Progesterone Test (by MFB Fertility) - in ... [+] the Lab

Beckley is also among the first vocal women's heath expert to come out and admit that it is "harder for a 40-year-old woman to support a pregnancy." She says, "The closer a woman gets to menopause, the least likely her body is going to be able to support a pregnancy." Beckley says that pregnancy supporting hormones become out of balance as women age. Her Proov progesterone test, for $39.99, diagnoses luteal phase defect or low progesterone for supporting pregnancy before a woman even steps foot into a an IVF clinic.  She is not talking about getting pregnant, but staying pregnant.

"Amazon is our largest platform by far," the MFB Fertility founder says. Proov is currently Amazon's 22nd best-selling pregnancy-related test in the "Ovulation Test" category. 

"We're only sold online," says Beckley, "and we got a cold email from Target, and they said they are launching an OTC Wellness Acceleration Program and 'loved our brand'." So, we now know the S&P peaking, yield-y Target corporation is combing the gentle behemoth Amazon for growth strategies. A Target Acceleration program / mini-incubator for small product-first businesses - what a logical idea for entrepreneurial "first draft picks".

Beckley said, "Target is teaching us what it takes for an online brand to get onto retail shelves." Target chose 7 companies to go through a 6 week program, including a few weeks at Target headquarters in Minnesota. 

While Amy Galliher-Beckley is savvy enough not to give away the bank (and has studied the geographical biases in allocating capital), she is "considering opening another funding round" to expedite market expansion and penetration. Proov is already a pioneer and early leader in the "holistic and natural" Fertility category for women.

The current protocol for diagnosing and treating low progesterone is analogous to "the morning-after-pill", whereas Beckley and MFB Fertility has made it as easy as "a condom". When asked why Beckley thinks her test is off to such a strong launch with Target and Amazon, Beckley half jokes that women like "something new to pee on". The truth in the joke is that, yes, women definitely want to feel empowered and in control of their Fertility journeys. It's about control. It's about power. It's like the difference between being allowed to insert the transvaginal ultrasound oneself versus having it put in for the woman. Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, is selling knowledge, and she is selling control and power. This is a good market to lead in with Millennials and the Me Too movement.

MFB Fertility and Proov are taking full advantage of Facebook communities with their “Proover Community” of product users. It is a closed Facebook group with lots of infertility and Proov product support. Shark Tank would probably like that, to date, MFB Fertility has amassed 1400 “Likes” and more than 600 members and growing.

What being a Scientist has taught Amy Galliher-Beckley is that "30-40 percent of women who go into the IVF chain don't need IVF."

When asked if there is a reason Fertility doctors shy away from offering early progesterone testing as a standard Fertility test, Beckley says, "Once they give women access to progesterone testing, it's going to revolutionize the way we think about women's reproductive health."

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