New Horizons: Finding the Future of FemTech - Samantha Butts
Today’s FemTech market includes several hundred startups that are focused on women-centric care. A study from Frost & Sullivan predicts that a steady spike in growth for the market is on the horizon, sparked by an increasing focus on women’s health, disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and accelerated competition within the space.
What does the future hold? What factors will have the greatest impact on FemTech in the decade ahead?
We asked Samantha “Sam” Butts, MD, a thought leader in the rapidly evolving world of FemTech, for her read on the industry’s future.
Sam, let’s say it’s the year 2032. What might the FemTech industry look like, from your perspective?
Ten years out, I’m anticipating continued breakthroughs in reproductive health and medicine in general and in FemTech in particular, along with an ardent, ongoing conversation around women’s health and widespread — even commonplace — use of digital health tools. I’m also hopeful the pace will pick up in dismantling the barriers to accessing high-quality care. Women will be increasingly empowered to take action to preserve their fertility today, such as cryopreserving, or freezing their eggs, to improve their forecast for future conception. No longer considered experimental, this procedure has been deemed safe and effective by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
What areas of FemTech are best positioned for growth in the years ahead?
The menstrual, fertility, and pregnancy care segments of the FemTech market are today well covered by technology and services. The next horizon, from my perspective, is targeting the segments less addressed yet equally challenging for women — for example, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and menopause.
We anticipate seeing more investment in the FemTech industry from health care venture capitalists, along with more research and funding. All will contribute to making the technology even more affordable and accessible. Emerging global economies will also accelerate the adoption of apps, products, wearables, and smart medical devices as these technologies become increasingly prevalent in low-income countries and marginalized parts of the world.
For maximum growth of the industry, we will need to continue to focus on overcoming stigmas and educating the continuum of stakeholders, from consumers and health care providers to payors, employers, and legislators. Regardless of the ever-shifting landscape, the goal of these technologies remains unchanged: helping women track, know, and act on their personal health data. By 2032, I’m confident FemTech will be well on the way to delivering on its ultimate promise: a true evolution — and revolution — in women’s health care.
We are grateful for your vision and insights, Sam.
Samantha Butts, MD MSCE, is a reproductive endocrinologist and sought-after thought leader in FemTech. She specializes in treating individuals and couples who require fertility treatments to achieve pregnancy. Currently, Sam serves as a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Penn State Health. She is devoted to building the next generation of medical leaders, who will lead the way in health tech, patient education, and reproductive health equity.