My son was born in 2016 after 12 failed IVF cycles which took us 21 months to complete. I lived every moment of the journey with my wife and felt her deep sorrow after each unsuccessful cycle.
While going through all those cycles, I became familiar with some of the challenges IVF faced and still faces, like egg quality, safe and effective hormonal stimulation, or embryo selection, to name a few. Given my background, I organized a small team in 2015 to try to use AI in evaluating embryos which turned to be successful and our presentation on ESHRE in Lisbon (2015) and in Helsinki (2016) drew attention from some significant industry players.
Seeing the promise of AI in embryo evaluation, I expanded my view. I realized that the IVF field could get more benefits from AI than was initially believed – a combination of more data being available, with women expecting more from their smartphones. Increased competition within the industry opened up the entire IVF value chain to be gradually disrupted by AI. I shared my vision of the “Role of AI in IVF” with some of the IVF industry leaders in 2017 and was encouraged by their positive support and the challenges it presented.
Thanks to initial funding, we prioritised market needs in 2018 which led to a UK market test during the autumn of 2019 proving the business viability of AI-generated individualized stimulation protocols. Fertility & AI Forum at the end of 2019 nailed the direction – 4 respected clinics presented their pilot projects confirming clinical benefits of AI solutions for IVF.
I secured seed funding and left corporate life at the end of 2020 to develop the Leeaf platform with a vision to help women and doctors grow new families using cutting-edge science and technologies.