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Glow

Science


Glow, which launched an app last summer designed to help couples conceive, has lined up partnerships with Domo, Eventbrite and Evernote as it attempts to “redefine the industry standard for employee health benefits.”

But it remains to be seen how eager most businesses will be to take part.

To understand how the “Glow for Enterprise” program is supposed to work, you have to understand a bit about Glow. The startup launched out of Max Levchin’s HVF Labs with the broad goal of helping to lower the spiraling cost of health care. The free app asks women to enter information about their cycle, sexual activity, cervical mucus and more, and then calculates the odds of conceiving on any given day. A recent update added tools for trying to prevent pregnancy as well.

The hope is that the app means fewer women will have to resort to costly treatments like in vitro fertilization, which can quickly run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

But it won’t work for all women, so in August the company also launched Glow First, a nonprofit pooled-risk program in which couples using the service donate $50 a month for 10 months. At the end of that time period, users who don’t conceive can apply a slice of those pooled funds toward treatments recommended by the accredited fertility clinic of their choice. Levchin seeded the program with $1 million himself.

Under Glow for Enterprise, businesses like Domo, Eventbrite and Evernote will fully cover those fees on behalf of any interested employees, male or female. Participation is confidential.

It’s unclear if any other money will change hands, as deal terms weren’t disclosed.

“At Eventbrite, we’re always looking for innovative new ways to offer health and wellness benefits to our Britelings,” said Emily Couey, a human resources exec at Eventbrite, in a statement.

It’s great that some businesses feel that way, but it’s far from clear that most will.

However we may wish companies felt about the matter, it’s perfectly possible that many won’t be especially eager to shell out money to help their workers get pregnant. It can mean extended employee absences or even costs of Tim Armstrong “distressed baby”-level proportions.

For companies without the requisite progressive attitudes, it may come down to math: Whether or not they pay more through insurance for these IVF treatments — which Glow itself notes are usually considered elective — than they do under the Glow First program.

It’s still unclear how well Glow is doing so far — or how effective its app is. The company hasn’t released download or active user numbers.

The only figure the company has made public is that “thousands” of women conceived who were using the app. But without controlled studies, establishing a definitive relationship between app usage and pregnancy success rates is difficult.



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