Air Force Awards $50,000 Grant to Help Treat Infertility in Airmen

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Staff Sgt. Michael Urena conducts a fertility test, July 12, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Staff Sgt. Michael Urena conducts a fertility test, July 12, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Air Force is investing $50,000 in a progesterone-testing kit company that could help service members who are trying to conceive.

One year after a study estimated 37% of women currently serving report fertility issues, the Air Force awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant to Proov, a company that makes $40 kits for women to test their hormone levels.

The Centers for Disease Control put the overall national infertility average at about 12%.

With the grant, Proov will provide free kits to Air Force couples who request them, and connect them with doctors specializing in fertility who may help them conceive naturally.

The company said this five-minute at-home test is used by women to self-diagnose low progesterone levels and gain information about possible infertility factors. Progesterone is a necessary hormone for pregnancy, causing women to ovulate.

Related: Survey: Nearly 40% of Active-Duty Women Report Fertility Problems

Most cases of infertility in women are due to ovulation problems, the federal Office on Women’s Health reports.

The average cost of in-vitro fertilization is estimated at more than $12,000 per cycle. Proov is promoting its kits as a cheaper alternative to other options, saying it can remove a “significant” number of women who have a hormone imbalance from the IVF pool.

“Thus, we can give much needed and earlier fertility care access to Air Force employees without the high price tag and emotional stress of IVF,” said Amy Beckley, owner and CEO of Proov, in a statement.

The company’s ultimate goal is to create a “virtual fertility platform” to support all military couples trying to conceive with education and diagnostics that work within their timelines and budget.

The company’s project will last until the grant money runs out, and it is currently recruiting Air Force couples looking to conceive. More information about the product can be found at its website here or by emailing info@proovtest.com.

-- Dorothy Mills-Gregg can be reached at dorothy.mills-gregg@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DMillsGregg.

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