This Founder Is Helping Families On Their Fertility Journeys

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Meredith HolserNov 16, 2022

We’re always excited to hear about female founders who are radically changing the game when it comes to female entrepreneurship — and we’re doubly excited when their founded brands help to advance reproductive autonomy. Here, we’re talking with Lauren Makler, CEO and founder of Cofertility, a new fertility ecosystem that enables women to freeze their eggs for free when they donate half of the eggs to a family that otherwise can’t conceive, providing support and education for everyone involved along the way. We asked her about starting her business, her passion for reproductive health, and her best productivity tips.

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How would you describe your brand in five words?

Empathetic, inclusive, empowering, transparent, and informative.

What mood do you want your brand to evoke?

Our brand is designed to evoke a sense of calm confidence; members should feel that Cofertility enables them to take each step of their fertility journey into their own hands.

Cofertility app

What was your ‘aha’ moment before starting your business?

We had a hypothesis about how our model could work, but we weren’t sure what the level of interest was in egg freezing, especially when donating half to freeze eggs for free. This was ultimately a big bet that people are much more open minded about the way we build families and that the “new normal” looks more varied and dynamic than ever before. The real ‘aha’ moment came when we surveyed nearly a thousand women in our target demographic and found that the answer was a resounding yes; there was high interest in this model, and we haven’t looked back since.

What were you doing before you started Cofertility?

I spent eight years at Uber, where I launched new markets on the east coast in the early days and then went on to start Uber’s healthcare arm, Uber Health. I had my first child, and right after my maternity leave, I was fortunate enough to get a life-changing DM from my co-founder, Halle Tecco. We’ve been off to the races with building Cofertility ever since.

What’s one thing you wish you knew before starting your entrepreneurship journey?

Before being an entrepreneur, I’d been working for over a decade and had always had a boss. I had someone to look to for guidance, feedback, and validation on a regular basis. When you’re an entrepreneur, the feedback is not built in. You need to seek it out from mentors you trust and more importantly, you need to have the self-belief to charge forward without this support. You have to remember that you are very capable of making decisions without validation from a superior.

Why is reproductive health so important to you on a personal level?

I had a rare disease that required three separate surgeries and it put my fertility into question. I eventually had a beautiful baby girl. That experience gave me immediate clarity that I wanted to build something special in reproductive health to help others have a better experience navigating the fertility journey. There are so many shortcomings in the traditional approach to fertility: a lack of proactive education, a dearth of support for LGBTQ couples, and care pathways that feel riddle with isolation, stigma and coercion. Many people feel failed by the process — and for something as deeply important and personal as building a family, that’s a real disservice.

How do you balance the practical with the creative parts of your business?

I don’t typically look at things through the lens of practical versus creative. I think you can bring creativity and practicality to any problem that crosses your desk. In fact, that balance is especially important when problem solving in an industry as personal, complicated and highly regulated like reproductive health.

What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about reproductive health? Or a frame of thinking you wish was more widespread?

Reproductive health doesn’t start and stop when you’re ready to have a baby. Our reproductive health is ongoing, just like the rest of our wellbeing. Fortunately there are ways we can plan ahead and take agency over our fertility to give ourselves the best shot at having the family we want (whenever we may want it).

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken so far?

Building a remote-first company has required a huge shift in mindset. Hiring a team without meeting them in person requires a huge leap of faith and reliance on a combination of intuition and continuous refinement of our processes and workflows. So far it’s paid off!

Cofertility app

More About Lauren Makler

What’s your favorite form of self care?

These days, my favorite form of self care is when my toddler will sit still long enough for me to cuddle with her. I also love to read, but only have time to do it for a few minutes before I fall asleep each night.

What is the most powerful thing you do in your day?

Talking to Cofertility members. I try to speak to as many of them as possible. Whether they are women interested in freezing their eggs on our Freeze by Co platform or intended parents on our Family by Co platform, I’m moved every time I get off a call.

What are your go-to snacks?

Sweet Loren’s less sugar chocolate chunk cookie dough is my favorite – made from clean ingredients and you can eat it raw. I love that it was started by a friend and fellow mom founder!

What do you do on your breaks?

Every morning, my husband, daughter and I take a walk to the exact same set of palm trees (that we refer to in my family as “the trees”) and recite Gabby Bernstein’s morning mantras from her book, Super Attractor. Throughout the day, my breaks are spent saying ‘hi’ to my daughter or taking walks around the block and calling a friend.

What is your go-to productivity hack?

My go-to productivity hack is, without question, leveraging my husband where his skillsets outweigh mine (and vice versa, of course). Being aware of our mutual strengths and being aligned on the same goal allows us to work together to find the quickest way to accomplish a given task for work or home. It also means we never run out of things to talk about!

What is your favorite desk essential?

One perk of working from home is that I get to light a candle on my desk – it sets the tone for the day and keeps me relaxed.

Fill in the blank: ____ gives me all the feels.

Helping people have the baby of their dreams on their own timeline gives me all the feels.

What does the word “selfmade” mean to you?

Making impact against our mission to make fertility care and third party reproduction care more human centered and accessible is the definition of selfmade to me. Of course, this work is never done – but that’s part of what keeps me going. I feel the most personally successful when I see real change in how women are taking agency over their reproductive futures and building the families they want in an empathic, totally personalized way.

Thank you for your time, Lauren! You can find Cofertility on the web or @cofertility.

November 16, 2022

Brit Morin