Meet Blair Matthews, proud husband, father, and founder of a new digital health startup that’s reimagining the fertility journey for families.
Blair is fresh off the heels of launching Zuri Fertility in honor of Infertility Awareness Month. The digital platform aims to guide families through their fertility journey by offering personalized care that includes everything from telehealth and education to mental health services and financial support.
The passion for the company was born out of the fertility struggles he and his wife, Jasmine Matthews, experienced prior to welcoming their two sons. The happy couple, who met while attending Howard University, faced shame and frustration after spending a year trying to conceive, to no avail.
For Blair, being a Black man struggling with infertility helped him see firsthand how the community stigmatizes seeking medical help for reproductive health issues. He also noticed the lack of representation and education about male fertility.
The Matthews did their own research, trying out a number of remedies in hopes of getting pregnant. Once Jasmine, who works as a Physician Associate, tapped into her network to get the insights she needed, the couple ended up getting pregnant after a trip to Blair’s home country of Zanzibar.
After finally conceiving, Blair teamed up with his co-founder Giuliana Zaccardelli to launch Zuri, which means good and beautiful in Swahili. Speaking exclusively with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Blair went more in-depth about his company’s mission, services provided, and stigmas around male fertility.
Tell us about the inspiration behind Zuri.
Zuri Fertility was born out of our personal experiences and the challenges we faced when trying to start a family. I realized that many individuals in the US struggle to access affordable and reliable fertility services due to high costs, lack of insurance coverage, and misinformation.
As a Northwestern alum, I am driven to create a solution to simplify the fertility journey, making it less stressful, less expensive, and more joyful for couples. My co-founder and I aim to provide streamlined assistance and trustworthy resources through a personalized digital fertility clinic.
Are there services and resources that Zuri offers for couples looking to conceive?
Absolutely. At Zuri Fertility, we offer a comprehensive range of services and resources to support couples on their fertility journey. Our app serves as a one-stop platform, providing educational resources, menstrual and ovulation tracking, at-home fertility testing, and referrals to specialized treatment options at nearby brick-and-mortar fertility clinics.
One of the key services we provide is testing, which is a crucial initial step. Through blood work and imaging studies, couples can gain insights into their fertility status. Additionally, we connect users with a dedicated support team, including medical providers such as therapists, dietitians, fertility specialists, and fertility financial counselors. We believe in providing holistic care to address the emotional, physical, and financial aspects of infertility.
What are some common misconceptions and stigmas around male fertility?
One common misconception is that infertility is solely a female issue. However, male fertility is equally significant in the process. At Zuri Fertility, we emphasize the importance of male testing alongside female testing. We aim to break down the stigmas and provide a comprehensive understanding of fertility health.
It’s crucial to recognize that factors such as sexual activity, smoking, diet, and alcohol consumption can impact sperm health. By addressing these misconceptions, we empower couples with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their fertility journey.
What advice do you have for couples dealing with the emotional and financial impact of infertility?
Our advice is to prioritize open communication and empathy within the relationship. It’s essential to create a supportive environment where both partners can express their feelings and concerns.
Additionally, finding ways to make the journey less goal-oriented and more enjoyable can alleviate some of the stress. We also encourage couples to explore the expanding coverage for fertility treatments provided by employers, making services like Zuri more affordable and accessible.
How beneficial are digital health services for the Black community?
Digital health services can immensely benefit the Black community by easing access to care when needed. At Zuri, our platform breaks down barriers by providing accessible and trustworthy information. Zuri empowers patients to take control of their reproductive health by gaining knowledge about fertility care options.
Furthermore, at Zuri Fertility, we ensure the privacy and protection of patient information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Improving access and awareness, digital health services assist in bridging the healthcare gap and promoting better outcomes for the Black community.
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Source: Black Enterprise