How big is the fertility services sector?

The fertility sector is large, and growing. To investors, reproductive vulnerabilities are growth opportunities.  

Sometimes when I'm bored, I find myself Googling things like "value of global fertility services market 2019." 

The estimates that come back are pretty big, in the $20 to $25 billion annual range. 

To put that into context, that's more than the GDP of about a third of the world's countries. It's about half of the estimated value of the entire global vaccine market. Or, to put it into a different context, it's about the amount of money Canada loses each year to corporate tax cheats who hide their money offshore. 

What's perhaps more interesting is that the sector is expected to grow quite handsomely over the next while. There is some consensus that it will increase by 8 to 10 per cent per year and be worth over $40 billion by 2026. 

It is interesting to remind ourselves that, as well as the patients who need the help, the third parties and clinicians and others who provide it, the people who are born as a result, and the lawmakers who try to regulate it, there is another group that is deeply interested in reproductive technology and health care. Investors. 

To them, older mothers, delayed marriages, sedentary lifestyles, disease, and recreational drug use all offer growth opportunities. Below, I share a few of the statements gleaned from the many market analyses that can be found online about this sector. I do not vouch for their accuracy (or their grammar); all emphases are mine.

So much potential

"The expanding career-oriented population base has led to the increasing prevalence of delayed pregnancies, which is contributing significantly to the market growth."

"The behavioral shift in the society is the major factor contributing to the decreased Total Fertility Rate (TFR). This shift reflects on increasing number of working women, advanced maternal age, a shift from rural to urban societies, lower marriage rates, and delaying marriages. Such factors are projected to drive the in-vitro fertilization market during the forecast period."

"The underlying causes covered in the fertility services market report include male and female infertility. Among the two, female infertility is likely to be the dominant segment over the forecast period. Factors credited to the success of the segment include the prevalence of obesity, elapsed age of motherhood, endometrial tuberculosis, and other medical conditions."

"Expansion of fertility procedures for treating male infertility such as ICSI [intracytoplasmic sperm injection], is projected to positively influence the growth in near future."

"[E]xcessive workload and the accompanying stress along with sedentary lifestyle habits including smoking and consumption of drugs lead to infertility issues among many of them." 

"Obesity is another factor leading to an increase in infertility. The fat deposited on women’s abdomen prevents follicular stimulation and produces male hormones. In case of males, rising fat deposits decrease testosterone levels and can result in lowered sperm production."

"Other factors such as increasing advertising and promotion of fertility services on televisions and online portals along with the rising disposable incomes and flexible coverage offered by health insurance companies are also augmenting the market growth."

"The fertility service market is expected to witness a moderate growth during the forecast period, owing to the rise in adoption of fertility services due to surge in disposable income of population. Furthermore, health insurance portability and rise in advertising and marketing of medical facilities to promote artificial reproduction are anticipated to augment the market growth. However, costs associated with fertility services and reimbursement issues related to fresh IVF cycles are expected to hamper the fertility services industry."

"The Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE) consists of a task force of clinicians and scientists involved in monitoring and managing fertility and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Such initiatives promote awareness levels among consumers thereby, driving the growth of the IVF market."

"The demand for IVF treatment is expected to boom in APAC [Asia-Pacific region] owing to fertility tourism and increasing penetration and awareness regarding the treatment in the developing economies."

"Availability of genomic testing with the ability to prevent the transfer of genetic disease during IVF procedure is expected to drive the market." 

"Despite overall declining return on capital, companies with some specialty focus areas had higher returns than average, ranging from 10 to 30 percent, depending on the focus. In 2017, companies that focused on specialty areas had the highest ROCs... Medtech: Robotic surgery (21 percent), cardio (15 percent), ENT (20 percent), and in-vitro diagnostics (15 percent)."

"Industry contributors are introducing advanced automation to shift the IVF treatment from invasive to minimally invasive or non-invasive procedure."

"Increasing number of IVF treatments has encouraged more insurance providers to cover these procedures." 

"With respect to fertility services market share, fertility clinics occupied the largest share in the fertility services market..."

"Culture media led the overall market in terms of revenue in 2018."

"Increasing number of egg/sperm donor banks is expected to drive the demand for sperm, egg, and embryo processing media during the forecast period."

"Europe led the in-vitro fertilization procedure and instrument market in 2018."

"The femtech market shows immense potential..." 

Sources: MarketWatch, Grand View Research, IMARC Group, Market Research Future, Allied Market Research, DeLoitte, Data Bridge Market Research, Frost & Sullivan


Related reading:

The Fertility Business is Booming. The Economist. 08 Aug 2019. 


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