Progesterone Test Wands to Maximize the Chances of Conception: Interview with Sylvia Kang, CEO of Mira
Mira is a medical device company based in California specializing in technology that helps women maximize their chances of conception and monitor their reproductive health.
Fertility problems are on the rise, with sperm counts dropping and many couples having difficulties conceiving. Technology can assist in maximizing the potential of conception by allowing women to track their cycle and observe trends in hormone levels that may reveal issues or highlight opportunities to conceive.
This new device is a urine wand that detects pregnanediol glucuronide, which provides confirmation of ovulation. The technology is easy to use, and involves placing the wand in a urine sample, and then inserting it into a small egg-shaped analysis device. Soon after, the user can read the results on a smartphone app, where trends and data about hormone levels are displayed.
This information allows women to better understand their reproductive health, and identify when they are most likely to conceive. Mira also offers two other hormone wands, Mira Fertility (which detects luteinizing hormone) and Mira Fertility Plus (luteinizing hormone + estrogen).
Medgadget had the opportunity to speak with Sylvia Kang, Co-Founder and CEO of Mira, about the technology to find out what it means for people trying to conceive.
Conn Hastings, Medgadget: Please give us an overview of the difficulties people face when trying to conceive.
Sylvia Kang, Mira: Approximately one in eight couples are affected by infertility in the United States. That’s about 6.7 million people each year who have trouble conceiving. Approximately one-third of the cases are related to women’s reproductive health problems.
Hormonal imbalances that entail irregular or absent periods and ovulation dysfunction are the most common causes for female infertility. Uterus and fallopian tube abnormalities can also lead to difficulties conceiving. Some women have early menopause which means that their egg number and quality is declining too early. Let’s also not forget about lifestyle and environmental factors that contribute hugely to our health and fertility.
The picture of motherhood is changing as well. Women are becoming mothers later in life – a phenomenon tied to increases in educational attainment, growing labor force participation and delays in marriage. I’m myself the example of postponed motherhood. Many of my friends are on a similar journey. Education and career were our primary focus so we didn’t have the bandwidth to start a family in our 20s — which is very common now. For some people, getting pregnant after 35 will become harder and they may have more complications. But the truth is, fertility does not decline in one day. Keeping a healthy lifestyle and monitoring your fertility health are good things to do to get prepared.
Medgadget: Are fertility issues on the rise? How do fertility issues affect people?
Sylvia Kang: Unfortunately, reproductive health problems in both men and women are rising. When people hear that fertility rates are declining by 1% per year, they don’t believe it’s a big deal. But when you read that sperm counts declined by 50 percent in just 40 years, you start to realize what a huge impact it has on people’s lives all over the globe.
Many of Mira’s customers don’t know why they can’t conceive. They’ve been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” which means doctors can’t pinpoint the issue and provide any guidelines. All this creates confusion and a sense of lack of control, leading to stress. Throughout every cycle, they encounter a negative pregnancy test and lack a clear direction in terms of next steps. It’s very emotionally draining and stressful.
Medgadget: How can technology help people to conceive? Please give us a brief summary of the existing technologies offered by Mira and how they work to assist in conception.
Sylvia Kang: Women’s health tech is still an emerging industry, and there are many unmet needs here. A few at-home tools exist that help women track their cycle and ovulation, but there is a lack of platforms that offer genuinely holistic solutions with lab-grade accuracy.
We created Mira on a mission to help people achieve their fertility goals without the guesswork.
Currently, the device tests for the concentrations of luteinizing hormone (LH), which is an indicator of ovulation, E3G, the estrogen metabolite, which is a key component in understanding reproductive health and fertile window, and progesterone metabolite in urine which confirms ovulation.
The future of Mira is however more than just a fertility tracker – with all major female hormones on the panel, Mira will be able to track women’s overall reproductive health.
Mira system consists of a small analyzer, urine test wands, and an accompanying mobile application. In contrast to other digital tools for tracking ovulation, Mira measures exact concentration of hormone levels in urine and provides numerical readings that are easy to understand. The hormone data is synchronized with the Mira App, where users can see a long-term health trend.
Medgadget: Please give us an overview of your brand-new PdG wand, what it measures, and how this fits in with maximizing the chances of conception.
Sylvia Kang: Adding PdG wands to the Mira testing line was a huge accomplishment, since the test gives us crucial information about whether ovulation has occurred during the cycle.
Non-ovulatory cycles are a very common reason for infertility and trouble with conception. Tracking pregnanediol glucuronide (PdG) in the urine is the most effective way to determine whether ovulation has happened and whether there is a sustained luteinization for pregnancy. A PdG surge on specific days after assumed ovulation is associated with a 92% chance of successful pregnancy, compared to a 19% chance in those with lower PdG levels.
Mira allows continuous PdG tracking, learning hormone patterns of a woman over the time and helps make more precise calculations for ovulation prediction. The wand can be used separately or in combination with other wands to facilitate women’s chances to conceive faster.
Medgadget: How would someone use the wand and app?
Sylvia Kang: Mira system consists of the egg-shaped, palm-sized device, urine wands, and the app. It’s easy, intuitive and users-friendly.
To start, you should download the app and connect it with the analyzer via bluetooth. For the testing, you can test anytime during the day as long as you test at about the same time each day. We recommend using first morning urine since it is more convenient to many users. Dip the test wand into urine for 10 seconds, insert the wand into the Mira Analyzer and wait around 15 minutes until the results appear on the app.
Mira app uses AI algorithms to learn user’s hormone patterns for a highly personalized and accurate ovulation prediction. Users can see their numerical hormone levels on the app, as well as hormone curves, ratios, and patterns.
Medgadget: Is it difficult to interpret the results of the PdG test? Does the app or accompanying literature guide users in interpreting the data and maximizing their fertility opportunities?
Sylvia Kang: The PdG test results are not hard to understand. On the app, a user will see the hormone pattern and surge. A PdG surge is a sign to confirm ovulation. It serves as a nice indicator to know the ovulation has happened even if the user has missed the LH or E3G peaks. We also offer a free Hormones 101 E-book to help Mira customers to get a deeper understanding of the hormone data they get with the analyzer.
Link: Mira company homepage…
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