The last time I saw my GP, it was because my yearlong script for the contraceptive pill had run out and I needed a renewal – that was all, nothing else. He asked a few questions to make sure there were no ill effects (none) and that I didn’t want to switch brands (nope).
He chuckled as the new prescription popped out of the printer, then handed it to me saying, “Alright then, see you next year.” I was out of pocket $80 for a consultation that didn’t last 10 minutes.
It’s an experience familiar to women across the country – one-third of all Australian women using contraceptive methods are on the pill – and one Kin Fertility founder Nicole Liu wants to change.
“Women are getting so much busier, and the way the healthcare system is evolving hasn’t kept up with how women work. What we’re trying to do is provide access for women in a way that suits their modern needs,” she tells Broadsheet.
Kin is Australia’s first subscription-based delivery service for the contraceptive pill, but the telehealth start-up is looking to revolutionise other parts of the process, too.
First you take an online health questionnaire that asks about your history with the pill, the brand you use, any issues you’ve encountered, and what you hope to use the pill for, plus some other factors to consider.
Next a doctor reviews your information and consults with you online, via text-based chat. If all goes well, they’ll write you a prescription and Kin will send the pill to your doorstep.
“Essentially we’re taking what used to be a service where you had to take an hour or so out of your day for a two-minute consult with a doctor, and you’re doing all of that from the comfort of your couch,” Liu says.
Membership with Kin also gives you access to its team of remote doctors at any time of the day, for you to ask questions, report any side effects or switch to a new pill.
The company stocks 34 brands of the contraceptive pill, giving women freedom of choice and access, and they all cost the same as they would at the chemist.
When Liu was misdiagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) last year, it sent her down a spiral of research and anxiety. She found it difficult to talk to others about it, despite one in 10 Australian women having the condition.
“I guess through that process of feeling like I was alone and couldn’t find a lot of information about it, I realised there was such a stigma surrounding reproductive and fertility health,” she says.
Through Kin, she wants to give women autonomy over decisions relating to their reproductive health. The company began as a content platform with guides to topics such as contraception, conceiving, pregnancy and fertility – all of which remain available online, with new guides added regularly.
Soon the team plans to release a fertility test that can measure hormones, count eggs, assess your ovulation and check for signs of PCOS.
“Our main question is, ‘How can we empower women to own the decisions that impact their bodies and their fertility?’ And that involves a focus on education,” Liu says.
Kin’s annual membership costs $55. Prices for the contraceptive pill vary depending on the brand.