Progyny CEO on the future of fertility treatments amid COVID-19 – Yahoo Finance

Progyny CEO David Schlanger joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how his company has handled COVID-19, and the future of fertility treatments.

- Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine expected to roll out early next week, but pregnant women may have to wait a little longer until they get the vaccine there. Young kids as well as pregnant women excluded from those clinical trials. Dr. Anthony Fauci now saying those trials, including those two, may begin-- may not begin until January.

Let's bring in the CEO of Progyny, David Schlanger. And David, it's been interesting to see how individual sectors have sort of responded to the pandemic. And when you'll recall, during the financial crisis, we saw a drop-off and a lot of women holding off on getting pregnant because they were concerned about sort of financial stability. I am curious what you've been seeing in this market over the last eight months or so.

DAVID SCHLANGER: What we've been seeing is that, with respect to our members that are seeking fertility care to achieve their dreams of building a family, that utilization and activities largely returned to normal. I think that's because most of these couples realize or individuals realize that fertility treatments are essential services and there's time sensitivity to it. The biological clock is real, and that by waiting to start your fertility treatments, you are lowering your chances of success. So certainly with respect to women that are seeking fertility treatments to try to build their families, again, activities largely returned to normal.

- Yeah, I mean, it's a trend that we've been kind of debating here. You got people on the one side who say, look, people have been quarantining for quite some time, and those who are able to have kids are probably going to have them here coming up pretty soon. And on the other side, you know, we've talked a lot about people delaying marriages, that trend, even before the pandemic happened and how that has led to some difficulties in couples trying to successfully have kids here.

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You guys recently updated your forward guidance here in terms of what you guys are doing over at Progyny. Talk to me about the trends that you've seen there and maybe how the pandemic might cause more people to look towards infertility solutions because of waiting longer.

DAVID SCHLANGER: Well, I think generally with respect to people that are just trying to have kids, I think the pandemic-- and I think we've seen some of that in the marketplace with respect to maybe people that can conceive naturally are waiting for the pandemic to be over and, particularly now with the vaccine, that maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel and they can wait because they're able to achieve building their families naturally. And there's less time sensitivity.

But for those individuals that are going to need to access fertility treatments to build their families, there is time sensitivity. They're struggling against a biological clock where their egg quality and egg quantity is declining every month. So they really-- they feel a sense of urgency. So maybe, unlike the broader maternity market and pregnancy market, certainly with respect to the fertility market, again, it was a very rapid return to essentially normal levels of activity. And again, it just shows the really strong desire amongst people to build their families and really start their families.

- David, we've also seen increased awareness among companies offering increasingly sort of larger benefits as it relates to fertility treatment as part of the overall insurance package. I'm curious what kind of growth you've seen on that front.

DAVID SCHLANGER: Well, we've had really phenomenal growth for the past four or five years that we've been in this business. We're entering next year with 180 large corporate clients that represent 2.7 million people. And I think, for all those companies, they're making a very strong statement that by providing robust fertility benefits that they really value their female workforce, that they value families, and that they're trying to help their employees achieve their dreams of building a family.

I think that these companies understand that they've made a social compact with their employees that they're going to take care of their health conditions. Infertility is recognized as a medical condition, a disease by both the AMA and the World Health Organization. And these companies realize that by not providing fertility coverage they're really discriminating against their female workforce. And in today's social environment, they certainly don't want to be viewed that way. And in fact, they want to be viewed positively as if they value their female workforce and value families.

So it's really been a trend for companies to provide robust fertility coverage. And Progyny, with its industry-leading solution, has really benefited from that. We've been growing rapidly as a result.

- More and more companies extending that coverage. You know, it started with the tech companies-- Facebook, you know, one of the people that you guys worked with earlier on, right, when you were kind of coming to market here. I mean, is there-- when you look ahead, is there, I guess, the hopes that you would start to see maybe more companies that aren't just tech focused?

But then also beyond that, we've been having a lot of discussions here with the Biden administration coming in talking about universal health care, what expectations might be out there. How far out do you see it maybe just becoming that the idea that everyone should have a right to maybe have some of these infertility products out there? Is that somewhere you see this country going considering the conversations that are now being had beyond just the big tech companies?

DAVID SCHLANGER: Well, you know, the reality is that Progyny's clients represent over 20 industries, and the old economy is really well represented. So you are correct that five years ago the driving force behind these benefits were the tech companies who were very forward thinking about taking care of their employees and providing robust benefits. But, you know, there's a-- as I just mentioned, we have a lot of old economy companies, whether they're pharmaceutical companies or insurance companies, consumer packaged goods companies, energy companies. They're all providing fertility benefits to their employees, because, again, as I said before, they realize it's the right thing to do to provide coverage for a health condition for their female workforce.

So-- and you know, to the second part of your question about kind of the trends going forward, what we've seen from kind of a regulatory perspective is that more and more states are mandating that, under insurance plans, that insurance provide fertility coverage. You know, New York and California added that mandate this year.

So I do believe that there's a trend, again, for more states that are mandating coverage for insured books of business. But also, just in general, more and more employers are providing coverage because they just realize it's the right thing to do.

- David Schlanger, the CEO of Progyny, it's good to talk to you. Thanks so much for your time.

DAVID SCHLANGER: Thanks very much for having me.

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Progyny CEO on the future of fertility treatments amid COVID-19 - Yahoo Finance

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