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Health Tech: Daniella Gilboa On How AiVF’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

An Interview With Luke Kervin

Listen carefully to those who you are trying to help. We have set up a process for a two-way exchange of information between our early adopter clinics, for instance. So much of communication is listening versus speaking.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daniella Gilboa.

Daniella Gilboa is an accomplished clinical embryologist, biostatistician, IVF researcher, and co-founder and CEO of AiVF. AiVF is a rapidly growing start-up empowering fertility clinics with data-driven intelligence. Throughout her career as a clinical embryologist, Gilboa helped hundreds of individuals conceive. She continues to advance scientific discovery through contributions to fertility conferences and academic journals and is an active member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

I was born in Jerusalem, Israel. I still meet up with my close friends from my childhood. That is life in Israel — going from high school to the army and then on to university. Our friendships last our lifetime. During my childhood, my parents relocated, and I had an amazing opportunity to live in London for a few years. I graduated high school with honors and then went on to do a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. After getting married, my husband and I relocated for a few years to Singapore, where my first child was born. When I returned to Israel, I was introduced to the world of IVF and I found my purpose.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

One day I was walking down the hallway at the hospital and a young couple recognized me as one of the embryologists from the fertility clinic. It is not usual that an embryologist has direct contact with the patient. The couple had a question. They actually had several questions. They turned to me, and I explained everything to them, what to expect every step of the way. Their questions were not limited to just that day in the hallway, but all during their fertility journey they came to me with questions. Fast forward a few years later and they contacted me that they had named their third child, Daniella. I realized at that moment the true impact one person can have on another’s life.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am grateful for the support and understanding that I receive every day from my husband (and three children and two dogs). Our household is one of equality, support, and is oriented around how each one of us contributes as much as we can each day. My family is truly supportive of my journey, as I am of theirs.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

As John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” I think about this quote often, especially as my role entails everyday planning of finance, legal, product, technology, branding, and other areas I never thought I would be involved in. Each day, I am doing something I have never done before, and I love that!

I strive to keep leading and learning. As CEO of AiVF, I am constantly learning from others who have experience and expertise in areas in which I need to expand my knowledge.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. Extreme Motivation. I am and have always been mission driven. I am motivated every day to bring about real change in the fertility field, and this sweeps up everyone around me to be motivated to work towards that goal.
  2. Passion. Whenever I speak about IVF, I can feel my eyes lighting up and my expressions become more animated. I actively recognize this feeling, and I let it guide me.
  3. Building a great team. It is important to have people to consult and think out loud with. When I click with someone and see that lightbulb turn on, the conversation becomes open and collaborative, and we can act together.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

We have been performing IVF for almost 44 years, and very successfully. About 9 million children have been born so far through IVF technology, and a very interesting paper published in Nature, estimates that by the end of the century, 3.5% of the global population will be born using assisted reproductive technology.

I see IVF as one of the most important innovations in medicine in the last 50 years. Having said that, the legacy technology being used today in the clinics can’t serve the growing demand. This is what we do at AiVF. We optimize IVF to be efficient, accurate, and easy.

How do you think your technology can address this?

At AiVF, we replace subjective human analysis with data-driven decision making, while bringing automation and full transparency to the process, which can make IVF efficient, accurate, and easy. This can be done with the cutting-edge technology that AiVF has brought to the market.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

While writing my PhD dissertation, it was suggested that my thesis could be a start-up. I believe that being an embryologist is the most amazing job in the world — they’re using their expertise to help individuals and families. While I was passionate about being an embryologist, I realized the potential greater impact I could make by combining this with my previous experience of using complex data to solve problems. To go from embryologist to CEO of a start-up is a huge step, and I am constantly learning, but my passion to help bring children into the world remains the same. I think it’s my greater obligation to the world around me to create the next generation of IVF for the clinicians, the embryologists, and, most importantly, for the patients.

How do you think this might change the world?

We look for ways to reduce uncertainty by planning everything about our lives. One of the only things that we can’t control is planning a family. No one knows if they will conceive or how long it may take. An optimized IVF process will add certainty to the journey of building our families, which dominates our adult lives. And I raise a point to think about…when we do have a very accurate and easy IVF process, will this be the end of sex for reproduction? There is an interesting book, The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction, so if you are interested, take a look.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

That is an important question and we, at AiVF, constantly discuss this. Predictions can help make decisions, but they can also be dangerous in terms of ethics. We are therefore working to bring together a group of Key Opinion Leaders to help define the guardrails for AI in IVF.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)

  1. Listen carefully to those who you are trying to help. We have set up a process for a two-way exchange of information between our early adopter clinics, for instance. So much of communication is listening versus speaking.
  2. Focus on a need. It is critical that your product or service is filling a real need. Do the research necessary to understand unmet needs. In fertility, a one-size-fits-all solution will not work because, even though people’s IVF goals may be the same — to have a baby — they may be in different emotional or financial stages and have different needs for you to meet along their fertility journey.
  3. A great team is crucial for success. I have made it a priority to build a great team of powerhouses, each contributing their experience, knowledge, and unique perspective.
  4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learning is an integral part of making an impact, and making mistakes is a crucial part of learning.
  5. Be flexible. Especially in a startup, you are making decisions as you are sprinting forward. You need to be agile and ready to pivot, if needed, while remaining focused on the objective at hand.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I would tell them that there is no greater reward than knowing you are making a difference. We are doing so through using technology to improve a patient’s journey and change their lives.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

I would like to have a private lunch with Michelle Obama. I am inspired by how she successfully created an impact from a position that is not in the spotlight. Being the partner of the most powerful man in the world, she established leadership without being the leader.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Check out our pages:

https://www.aivf.co/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniella-gilboa-20295713/

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Luke Kervin, Co-Founder of PatientPop

Luke Kervin, Co-Founder of PatientPop

Luke Kervin is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of PatientPop, an award-winning practice growth technology platform.

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