The women’s health industry in 2023

2022 was a year for the history books - the impact of Roe v. Wade being overturned will be felt for years to come in and outside of the US. As we head into 2023, Dr. Elina Berglund Scherwitzl, Co-Founder and co-CEO of Natural Cycles, shares her thoughts on the short-term impacts of how the decision will impact the women’s health industry over the next year, as well as other predictions for the women’s health space in 2023.

Investment may dip - but it will be short term

We may see the dollar amount invested in women’s health - particularly digital health companies - decrease year over year. This will be a reflection of the exponential growth over the last few years combined with the global economic situation and the higher risk companies will have to take on given the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This decrease in funding is not a reflection of how crucial innovation within the field of women’s health is and I believe the dip will be short term.

One of the few good things we can see coming out of Roe v. Wade is the widespread agreement that women’s healthcare is more important than ever so women’s health startups that are offering quality products with sound business models will be well-positioned in this economic environment for further investment. We’re talking about necessary items, not luxury goods.

Large companies will have to get comfortable with higher risk

The overturning of Roe v. Wade made an already “risky” industry even riskier. I say that because when it comes to women’s health - and particularly anything that has to do with unintended pregnancies - there’s never been a fool-proof solution. Unintended pregnancies will always happen - it’s an unfortunate reality. Startups have been forced to embrace these risks while large, established companies have tried to stay away.

But for any company who wants to help women in the post-Roe v. Wade world, they are going to have no choice. For example: Apple is now offering advanced cycle tracking to Apple Watch users, which is amazing, but it’s a reality that even though it's not marketed as contraception, users will use it to prevent pregnancy and it will fail.

There may be fewer products

With all of the investment being made over the last few years, it feels like there’s been so many new products launched, and with any booming industry, you have to take the good with the bad.

I know that every time I go on Instagram I’m inundated with fertility products - many of which have not been evaluated or proven to work - so I do think many of these products that don’t have scientific evidence to support them will no longer exist by year’s end. This is partly due to the economic situation, but more so, because with all of the “good” products out there and amazing innovation, women will have less tolerance for products that have not been properly evaluated. They’ll choose the better products.

Temperature will have its moment

There’s no better time than now for women to start learning about their bodies and body temperature has always been a useful indicator of what’s happening inside the body - beyond a fever. As a company that’s been using body temperature to confirm ovulation for almost 10 years now, we’re excited to see other companies - as well as more healthcare professionals - embrace body temperature monitoring.

Securing sensitive data

The overturning of Roe V. Wade in the US not only sparked a heated debate about reproductive rights but also about data security. Although the debate focused mainly on period tracking apps, all tech companies handling sensitive data have a huge responsibility here. In 2023, Natural Cycles will begin testing our identity protection functionality and we expect other companies to follow suit and make sure that data security is a top priority.