‘Fem tech’ innovations have fewer women poppin’ the Pill

The emergent “fem tech” industry coincides with a drop in the prevalence of the Pill.


October 25, 2019

Innovations in the women’s health industry have been somewhat stagnant in the past 20 years. Now, improvements in technology — buoyed by the promise of profits — are leading to a new wave of products and services. 

Let’s talk about sex

At the height of its popularity in 1973, more than of American women were taking the Pill. What wasn’t to love? It prevented pregnancies, regulated menstrual cycles, and cleared up acne.

But now only 22% of American women use oral contraception. That’s partly due to improvements in intrauterine devices, or IUDs. An IUD is good for about 5 years once it’s inserted into the uterus… meaning there’s no need to remember to take a daily pill or get a prescription refilled each month.

All of this has opened the door for ‘fem tech’

Women’s health is expected to be a $50B market by 2025, and venture capitalists want to get it on. In the second quarter of 2019, companies with this focus had raised $500m… and the burgeoning bioscience and technology movement dubbed “fem tech” is making some fascinating strides.

Beyond apps and direct-to-consumer services, there are vaginal microbiome products, non-hormonal birth control gels, lubricants for menopausal women who experience pain during sex, and hot-flash treatments.

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