Disclosure- This post was written by me as part of The Stork/Rinovum Women’s Health campaign from TheMotherhood.com. All opinions are 100% my own.
My husband and I are blessed to have 2 healthy, beautiful daughters but there was a time that I didn’t think that being a parent would be possible. My husband and I struggled with infertility for several years. I was diagnosed with PCOS and my cycles were very irregular and very long. We tried fertility drugs like Clomid and I was on a fertility monitor. We did one IUI attempt that was not only unsuccessful but very costly. We couldn’t afford to do any other IUI attempts and we definitely didn’t have the money to do IVF. Several months after our failed IUI attempt we ended up seeing a peak on our fertility monitor and thankfully that was the month that we conceived our older daughter who will be 10 this December.
Our second time around we started trying to conceive pretty soon after we had our daughter because we knew it might take a while to get pregnant again. I remember feeling so helpless because there weren’t many options to conceive that we could afford. Thankfully two years later we were blessed with another healthy baby girl but I wish I would have had other options when I was trying to get pregnant. And I know we weren’t alone in our struggles to conceive. Today, approximately 7.3 million couples (1 in 6 couples) in the United States have difficulty conceiving. Fortunately for couples trying to get pregnant now there is new option to help them conceive- The Stork.
Steve Bollinger, CEO and Founder of The Stork and adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon of Pittsburgh personally experienced infertility issues with his wife. He wanted to come up with a way to bring the fertility clinic into the privacy of people’s homes and that’s how The Stork was born. Rinovum Women’s Healthy is a Pittsburgh, PA-based, privately-held women’s health company dedicated to bringing products into the market that will enhance women’s lives and empower them to take charge of their health. The first product they focused on is the Rx device – The Stork.
So what is The Stork and why use it? The Stork Conception System is indicated for assisted insemination in instances where low sperm count, sperm immobility, or hostile vaginal environment has been diagnosed. The system (cervical cap in a condom-like silicone sheath) is used to collect semen into a cervical cap and then deliver the cap to the outside of the cervix as an aid to conception. It is to be used at home following physician instructions and currently women need to get an Rx from their doctor to order The Stork.
The Stork isn’t for couples just starting out trying to conceive. It is for couples who are at the point where sex is no longer for fun, but for propagation. It costs much less than other approaches such as IUI and IVF. Because of the low price on The Stork, many physicians are prescribing couples to do this process three times during a women’s optimal ovulation cycle for a cost of only $210 for the 3 systems.
There are 2 main parts of The Stork system that work together- the cervical cap in a condom-like silicone sheath and the applicator.
The cervical cap in the condom-like silicone sheath is easy for men to roll on just like a condom. What is unique about The Stork system is that it involves natural intercourse where many of the other methods of trying to conceive with intervention do not involve intercourse such as IUI and IVF. Once the man rolls the sheath on he is ready to have intercourse with his partner. Once the sperm are in the cervical cap, it is placed in the applicator device and ready to be inserted into the woman. It is similar to inserting a tampon. When the cervical cap is ready to be removed it is removed similar to a tampon by pulling on the attached string. With The Stork system being similar to familiar condoms and tampons, it makes it easy to use. The Stock ships directly to your home for privacy. There are two shipping options available- Overnight (if placed between M-F by 3 PM) or Ground (5-7 business days). Contact healthcare provider for prescription and submit a copy of the prescription through email, fax or mail for verification by Rinovum. Then purchase The Stork from the website and choose from one device or a one-month supply of three individually-packaged Stork devices ($79.99 for one or $210 for a one-month supply). Pre-natal vitamins are also available for both the male and female on The Stork website.
Benefits of The Stork:
Proven technique: Physician technique now available for use in the privacy of home
Safe: FDA Authorized prescription product. Non-reusable device
Natural: Drug-free product that requires no drugs
Non-invasive: Requires no injections or surgery
Easy –to-Use: Condom-like in collection, tampon-like in delivery
Cost-effective: Compared to “next-step” treatment options
Watch how easily the Stork Device works:
Have you struggled with trying to conceive? What methods have you tried?
Have a story to tell?
Please share your fertility stories with us and comment below on my blog!
Factors That Add to the Era of Infertility
(all information and stats below were proviced by TheStork)
Increasing fertility issues related to environmental and lifestyle factors
40% of diagnoses are attributed to the male, 40% to the female and 20% are diagnosed as unexplained
Male Factor: estrogen levels are higher than ever before resulting in low sperm counts, motility and morphology issues
Female Factor: imbalanced vaginal pH, diminishing ovarian reserve, PCOS, endometriosis, etc.
Women are trying to conceive later in lifeFemales age 20-25, 25% chance per month of conceiving
Females age 30-35, 15% chance per month of conceiving
Females age 35-40, 10% chance per month of conceiving
Female age 40, 5% chance per month of conceiving
Limited options available for those initially struggling:
Long waiting periods given by physicians before further assistance for help
Under 35 years of age suggested to wait 12 months
Over 35 suggested to wait 6 months
Growing population of same-sex couples
Treatments today are slow, invasive and costly
Only 14 out of the 50 states require reimbursement (many of which are partial)
Risk factors of other pregnancy methods:
Multiple-births: one third of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) result in multiples
Genetic risks to offspring
Increased health risks to female
Women are placed on intensive hormone medications
Increased rates of breast and ovarian cancer
Treatment options are stressful which actually reduces the women’s chance of conceiving
The Future of The Stork:
Right now The Stork is only available on their website but they are hoping to be able to sell The Stock over-the-counter at local pharmacies in 2014. They are also launching in Canada and EU during the end of 2013. They are also working on other women’s health product designed for every stage of a woman’s life.
Follow The Stork to stay up-to-date on all their advances.
The Stork on Facebook
The Stork on Twitter
The Stork on Vimeo
Can you purchase The Stork at Walgreens or CVS?
Not today, but hopefully in about six months, we’ll be seeing The Stork available in regular pharmacies!
Will there be a price difference once the product is available over the counter?
It will be the same. The rational for costing and pricing is because we have to do all kinds of testing to make sure it is sperm-friendly and that takes time and money to do.
Does using the restroom cause any issues while using The Stork applicator?
Not at all! It will be out of the way of your urinary tract. Simply leave it in and go on with your business as normal.
Can I leave the applicator in overnight?
We are actually in the middle of a study now that will examine the applicator use over 12 hours.
Does The Stork have an online forum for users?
Our website and blog is pretty robust. The blog community is a positive place to go to receive feedback and help from other people.
Is this product made with latex?
No, everything is latex-free! This is a product made with silicone, which is the same product used for chin or breast implants. This is the most friendly, elastic material made for the body that you could have.
Does health insurance cover this?
Not today, but The Stork’s long term goal is that this will be available for everyone over the counter and to remove the prescription process right now.
What are the disposal requirements?
This is no different than a tampon applicator. When you’re done with it, simply throw it in the trash!
What is the success rate of The Stork?
We have not had enough patient volume to do that testing, although we that think over time we will even have a better result than IntraCervical Insemination (ICI) and IntraUterine Insemination (IUI), which is about a 10-20% success rate. We are in the middle of a study now and more clinical data will be coming from us the next couple of months.
Are you taking new participants for your studies?
We are, but we are only taking participants in the Pittsburgh area right now. If you’re interested, more information can be found here.
Who can write me a prescription for The Stork? How hard is it to get a prescription?
Your doctor, midwife or even nurse practitioner can write you a prescription. Basically anyone who is able to write a prescription can prescribe you The Stork. And any clinic can get it, as well. We’ve already begun conversations with big drugstore chains to start carrying our product. So look for it in Walgreens, CVS and other clinics soon!
If you have any resistance in having your doctor write you a prescription you can have them call us and we will have a representative talk to them. Most doctors like The Stork.
My medications cost $1,500. Can my doctor prescribe the stork to use with the injectables to try to avoid the $5,000+ the IUI cost?
Definitely. If you’re on drugs to support the ovulation process, this is a perfect moment to try the Stork before you try IUI! The Stork can be used alongside any medications to help with conception.
At what point should a couple use The Stork when trying to get pregnant?
When sex is no longer for fun, but for propagation- that is your moment!