Startup Kin Fertility is looking to revolutionise sexual and reproductive health in Australia with the launch of an online subscription service for the contraceptive pill this week.
However, doctors have warned of the risk of going online for healthcare, with the Australian Medical Association urging women to visit their doctor to access the contraceptive pill.
Nicole Liu is the founder of online contraceptive pill delivery startup Kin Fertility.
Kin Fertility was founded by Nicole Liu, 25, after she became frustrated with the time it took and the cost of getting a prescription for the contraceptive pill.
"I was misdiagnosed with polycystic ovaries and told I would be infertile," she said.
"It turned out not to be true. But I had a lot of questions and I started looking into the space and realised how nobody talks about their reproductive health. There is a lot of silence around experiences and a lot of isolation."
The former McKinsey management consultant saw an opportunity for a startup which tapped into the booming trend for telehealth services while providing more information to women.
I thought, how can we destigmatise fertility and reproductive health and give women back control?
"I thought, how can we destigmatise fertility and reproductive health and give women back control?"
Ms Liu participated in the Startmate accelerator program and started working on Kin Fertility seven months ago, beginning with online content.
"That got a lot of traction and we realised there was a hunger for this information so we doubled down on that to try and connect women with doctors online," she said.
Kin Fertility customers complete an online health questionnaire and this patient information is then reviewed by qualified Australian doctors.
The doctors engage in a text-based consultation and, if assessed as suitable, the customer can access a prescription to the contraceptive pill delivered to their door, avoiding the need to make a doctor's appointment.
Kin Fertility offers access to 35 brands of the contraceptive pill and costs $55 a year in addition to the cost of the pill.
The Sydney based startup has attracted $1 million in funding from venture capital fund Blackbird Ventures and has the backing of accelerator Eucalyptus.
Tim Doyle, founder of Eucalyptus, has also backed mens health telehealth startup Pilot and said the space was growing.
"The telehealth experience with Pilot showed significant demand for convenient online health services," he said.
"I think with Kin that opportunity is going to replicate again with similar principles in terms of technology."
However, Dr Richard Kidd of the Australian Medical Association said while Kin Fertility was billed as a low cost option it was not.
"There is a high cost for that convenience and that is the cost of safety," he said.
'There is a high cost for that convenience and that is the cost of safety.'
"It is the cost of lost opportunity for a face-to-face consult with a doctor at which a number of important things happen. For an ongoing prescription you only have to see your doctor once a year and that is an opportunity to talk about many things in your life like mental health and perhaps an opportunity for a skin check, to discuss sexual health and think about a cervical screening test."
Ms Liu was not deterred by the AMA's reservations.
"Contraception is something that can be done online if done properly," she said.
"All the doctors who have gone through our onboarding software are thrilled with it. We are trying to keep it as simple as possible while keeping all the necessary frictions there to keep it safe for the patient."
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