One of my most strongly held convictions is that all people deserve access to the information they need in order to make important decisions about their reproductive health. Today, it’s hard to imagine that something as elemental as testing for pregnancy by peeing on a stick in the comfort of one’s own bathroom could ever have been controversial. But as recently as the 1960s, a woman who wanted to figure out if she was pregnant had to book a doctor’s appointment and then wait a few weeks for lab test results. There was substantial pushback against home tests—doctors worried about whether women could administer them properly, and about whether receiving such information would be something women could handle without professional counsel.
If you’d asked me before I attended Scripps where my conviction about reproductive rights is rooted, I probably would have replied, “I believe getting people information about their bodies is the right thing to do.” But my Scripps education helped me refine my answer. During my senior year, I had an internship at a health clinic in Pomona and taught sex education at a variety of LA high schools. These experiences inspired me to write my senior thesis on California’s parental consent policies for sex education, in which I also explored competing cultural frameworks of parental rights to control the information their children receive in schools versus the rights of students to receive this information.
I feel deeply grateful that Scripps helped set me on the path to work for a company that aligns with my passion for reproductive health. Modern Fertility, a female-founded women’s health startup based in San Francisco, offers women a low-cost option for checking their fertility hormones, whether they want to have kids in “five minutes or five years.” The American healthcare system has no concept of proactive fertility testing, but Modern Fertility is working to change this by getting information to women earlier in life. Every test is physician ordered, and Modern Fertility breaks down the complicated science behind fertility in easy-to-read reports, encouraging women to explore their results with their doctors.
As a member of Modern Fertility’s Customer Experience team, I’m on the front lines of customer communications. I answer questions about the test and results and help our customers navigate the resources they may need in the next steps of their fertility journey. I also see how women are experiencing the empowerment that comes with knowing about their bodies on their terms. Fertility issues can be incredibly isolating, so it’s amazing to hear women say that they don’t feel like they are in it alone anymore, or that their results helped them think through their timeline for having kids beyond “wait and see.”
There’s a neon sign hanging in our office that says, “We trust women.” We trust them to be able to handle the nuances of what science can (and can’t) tell us about fertility. We trust them to make the leap to empower themselves with information about their bodies, so they can come to their doctor prepared to launch into a conversation about their fertility timeline. We trust them to keep asking questions, and we not only trust them to take decision making about their health into their own hands—we see them doing it every day.