One in eight couples struggles to conceive, according to the CDC. But though it's a common problem, scientists are still far away from understanding how a person's genes impacts their fertility.
23andMe, a DNA-testing startup, and Celmatix, a New York-based biotech, have joined forces to develop a genetic screening test for doctors to identify women who are at risk of a premature decline in their ovarian function, which can impact their fertility.
For Celmatix, the partnership offers access to an enormous pool of genetic information. 23andMe has amassed a database of more than one million people's genetic information. In exchange for a spit sample, the company provides a breakdown of users' genetic traits and predispositions.
Meanwhile, Celmatix has developed a website for obstetricians and their patients. The technology is currently rolled out in New York City health clinics as an upgrade to tools that obstetricians use to help guide women through the various treatment options, such as in vitro fertilization, or IVF.
Celmatix is also working on developing a scientific database of the thousands of genetic markers that are indicated in fertility. Thus far, the company has found 5,200 biomarkers that relate to fertility potential in humans.
"Through their big data platform and comprehensive clinic network they have amassed a deep clinical database on infertility treatments; combining that platform with 23andMe’s massive genetic database will create a uniquely powerful engine to fuel discoveries on the genetics of infertility," said 23andMe's vice president of business development, Emily Drabant Conley.