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Brief Published: 25 Feb 2020

Fertility & Mental Health: Top Wellness Tech Trends

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Trying to Conceive

Tech innovation is fuelling the wellness sector, as evidenced by the boom in fertility-focused and mental-health technology – two of the Global Wellness Institute’s (GWI) 10 trends for 2020. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Fertility Opportunity: Reproductive assistance will expand from a luxury to a crucial part of healthcare. “We have a fertility crisis in industrialised nations,” says Beth McGroarty, GWI research director, “in part because women are delaying pregnancy”.

    Technology underpins this trend, as Stylus first detailed in 2016 with Decoding Digital Parents, and updated in 10 Wellness Trends to Watch 2019. Solutions include apps like communal support-focused Trying to Conceive – launched in 2019 by Peanut, a social network for North American and UK mums – and wearables like Ava (see The Brief).

    With sperm count among Western men steadily declining, the focus is broadening to male reproductive health. Start-ups include NY-based Dadi, a sperm-storage service for men postponing fatherhood, and European B2B service Mojo, which is using artificial intelligence (AI) and ro­botics to advance sperm assessment and selection for IVF.

    Beyond fertility, maternal-health devices are seeing growing investor interest, according to US analysts CB Insights’ latest healthcare-trends report. Examples include Irish start-up Coroflo’s nipple shield sensor that tracks milk supply, and Japanese service Bonyu’s nutritional breast-milk analysis.
  • Mental Health’s Digital Momentum: Mental-health tech has quickly gone mainstream, expanding access to care while mood disorders simultaneously rise (AJMC, 2019). The GWI says nearly 10,000 mental-health apps are now available, pushing the behavioural health software market to 14.8% annual growth (MarketsandMarkets, 2019).

    Digitally enabled therapy is growing more specialised for marginalised and intersectional communities, like US teletherapy app Ayana (see The Brief), LGBTQ+ focused Pride Counselling, and online platform ReGain for couples therapy. As with fertility, solutions encompass wearables like the emotion-sensing wristband Feel from California-based Sentio, and supportive digital communities like Israel-based Wisdo, for people experiencing difficulties with their loved ones.

    The GWI expects to see digital therapeutics better integrating with human-led medical care, especially as telehealth takes off – a theme explored further in Nurturing Mental Health.

For more on the GWI’s 2020 report, see Wellness Trends for Hospitality.

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