One startup, one story: what if IVF success rates doubled?

How patient-focused big data analysis stands to revolutionize reproductive medicine. Let’s meet Polywed.

Most women trying to get pregnant know that the best time to conceive is during the fertile window of their menstrual cycle. This is different for every woman, but generally speaking the probability is highest the day before and the day of ovulation.

Traditionally, however, in vitro fertilization has taken a different approach. Reproductive medicine assumes that with drugs, doctors can rebuild the cycle from scratch. The first step in IVF treatment is to suppress your natural monthly hormone cycle with drugs, after which another drug is taken to boost egg supply.

Russian fertility treatment expert Olga Bolibok has 20 years’ experience of fertility treatment in Moscow. She was convinced that IVF birth rates were higher when eggs were collected and fertilized during a woman’s natural fertile window.

A chance encounter with software engineer Andrey Temlyakov in 2010 gave her the opportunity to test her hunch using big data. They teamed up with physiologist Vera Vasenina, and together with Olga’s husband – Igor Bolibok, a professor in chronobiology, spent the next five years developing an IT service for fertility clinics.

One in six couples worldwide experience fertility problems, and every year over 1.5 million IVF treatment cycles are carried out across the globe. Using patient data detailing more than 1,000 IVF attempts in Moscow clinics, the Polywed team developed BioChron technology that has doubled fertility success rates.

Currently only one-third of IVF treatments are successful. The average IVF live birth rate is 27%, as measured by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), and 29.4% for the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) in the Unites States. BioChron technology increases the average IVF live birth rate up to 60.2% – with efficacy doubling for all patient age groups.

The approach is totally unique in reproductive medicine. While most reproductive experts focus on the embryo, Polywed began by looking at the patient. BioChron technology enables doctors to offer a personalized approach, including calculating the optimal date for IVF treatment.

For fertility clinics, BioChron technology has the added advantage of requiring no further equipment and no additional tests. It has already won the Polywed team multiple awards, including the Suvorov Prize, a Swiss-Russian award for outstanding innovative projects with international impact, and the French Tech Ticket Global Startup competition.

CEO Andrey Temlyakov credits the French Tech Ticket program for helping Polywed set up in Europe, where over half a million IVF treatments are carried out every year. Through French Tech Ticket connections, he has been able to quickly establish relationships with French clinics, which are now testing BioChron’s efficacy.

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