Support — Be around those that support you. You will likely have friends and family that won’t understand what you’re going through or the process, but let them know that their support is necessary and means everything. Also, find yourself a group of women who know exactly what you’re going through and how you’re feeling because they will become your best friends.
I had the pleasure to interview Kathrin “Kati” Deutschle. Kati is the co-founder and inspiration behind emBorrow, a newly launched Chicago tech company that aims to help those with fertility obstacles by providing a community of financial, emotional and educational support. While emBorrow provides users with installment plans to help cover the costs of fertility treatments, they also connect users with a community of people who have undergone a variety of fertility procedures. In addition, emBorrow features a network of physicians and nurses who work in the fertility arena along with additional wellness services such as yoga, acupuncture, and other holistic services.
Thank you so much for joining us Kati! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I knew I always wanted to have my own children, but by the age of 35 I was still not at the point in my life where I was ready to have children. I had heard about egg freezing in the past but did not have much information about it. I decided to go to a talk about egg freezing at a local fertility clinic where I learned about a fertility test that could provide you with your “fertility age.” “Fertility age” meant that just because you are 35 years old, your fertility may not be 35 years old. After taking the test, I learned that I had low egg reserve for a female of my age. I was asked by the nurse “why did you take this test?” to which I responded, “I was thinking of freezing my eggs.” The nurse then told me “this would be the right time to do that.” I didn’t really know what all went into the process of freezing my eggs, but I knew I wanted to proceed because I never wanted to be told I missed my opportunity to have my own children. Having children was always very important to me and since I was getting older, this was the best way to preserve my fertility.
I ended up undergoing three rounds of fertility treatments with three successful egg retrievals. During my first treatment, however, I did not know much of what to expect. I was provided with links to videos on how to administer the shots, but other than that I had no idea what I was putting my body through, how the process worked, how long I would be on the shots, the monitoring that would take place throughout the cycle, the actual retrieval of my eggs, etc. It wasn’t until my third round of fertility treatment that I felt like a pro. I knew exactly what to expect in terms of the injectable medications, how I would physically feel during the process, the monitoring of my ovaries and the egg retrieval. Most women freezing their eggs, however, won’t be going through three rounds of treatment and honestly, before you start the first round, you want to know EXACTLY what the process will be. This is one of main reasons that I wanted to start emBorrow. To educate women on what it is like to actually go through fertility treatment. And not just the actual administration of the medications, the monitoring and the retrieval, but all the emotions that you will experience during this process.
Another important reason for the founding of emBorrow is the cost of fertility treatments. Let’s face it, they are not cheap, and this is a huge concern for women and couples who want to have children. In the many women that I have talked to who are considering freezing their eggs, the main concern is the cost. Does insurance cover any portion of the cost? How much is the medicine? How much is the procedure? How can I afford this? It’s extremely disappointing to hear women say that while they want to preserve their fertility and not be told in the future that they cannot have a biologicalchild, that they won’t proceed with freezing their eggs because they cannot afford it or they don’t understand the process. Everyone should be able to afford the costs of fertility treatments and be supported through their journey in order to have the family that they want, whether that be egg freezing, IVF, using donor eggs or surrogacy. This is what emBorrow will make happen.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Our company, emBorrow, is turning the fertility industry upside down by empowering women and couples to take on their fertility journey. The journey is very personal and emotional but important nonetheless. The challenge has been that a lot of stakeholders in this industry deliver their services in a transactional manner. This transactional state of affairs does not provide what people need, creating enormous market frictions. emBorrow is shaking the status quo by providing two unique but essential elements: (1) a holistic solution, and (2) a community that listens, cares and supports you.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I don’t have a specific mentor in the vision emBorrow represents, but I do have a community of women who not only have been my support network but also my cheerleaders. They understand everything I am going through because they can relate to the process. When I’m feeling down, they bring me back up and encourage me to keep moving forward. That is what we, as a fertility community, do for one another.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
(1) Perseverance — They say that infertility is “not for the faint of heart” and that is a true statement. When a woman or man is diagnosed with infertility, not every treatment works and not every outcome is positive. No matter the disappointment, you need to keep going and persevere. If your goal is to have a child you will get there, even if having a child doesn’t happen in the way you always thought it would.
(2) Hope — You can never lose hope. Hope is the one thing that keeps you going because you know that in the end something special will be coming to you one way or another.
(3) Support — Be around those that support you. You will likely have friends and family that won’t understand what you’re going through or the process, but let them know that their support is necessary and means everything. Also, find yourself a group of women who know exactly what you’re going through and how you’re feeling because they will become your best friends.
How are you going to shake things up next?
I believe in empowering women to preserve their fertility. As we, ladies, dedicate ourselves more to our own careers or other personal aspirations, motherhood if it’s desired ends up happening at a later time in life. Our “biological clock”, however, does not accompany those social changes. Our bodies remain what they are — age is not the only factor in fertility; though it’s still an important one. emBorrow will be the vehicle for women to get awareness, education, coaching and a network of high-quality providers to help preserve their fertility. When doing that, women have more options looking into their future. By preserving their fertility the biological clock ticks “slower” and allows the woman to be her own egg donor in the future if needed. This gives women the ability to pursue their aspirations with more peace of mind in terms of their fertility wellness.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The movement that I’d love to inspire will spawn the support and education that women need to open up about their struggles, certainly in terms of their fertility health. Many, many times women prefer to avoid these types of conversations. In terms of fertility, they may think it’s their fault if something is not picture perfect. They may lack the confidence to speak to other people or seek help. Furthermore, sometimes I’ve seen women criticizing other women for the choices they are considering in terms of trying to have a child — and a lot of times such criticism comes without even knowing the context or situation of that particular woman. We want to inspire a movement that doesn’t point fingers at anybody but instead supports and educates with the care and respect needed to bring about a significant amount of good.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Do or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda
This has been my favorite life lesson quote since my sophomore year of high school. To me it means that if you’re going to do something you give it your all, and I have done this all of my adult life. I wanted to be a lawyer since high school so I gave 110% in college and law school to obtain the career I wanted. Now with emBorrow, I want to create an ecosystem for women and couples that are going through, or considering, fertility related treatment so I am giving it everything I got to make that happen. There were certain pieces that were missing for me during my own fertility journey and I want to make sure those pieces aren’t missing for others.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
IG — @emborrow