Marje Isabelle - Founder and CEO
As the founder of Fertile Matters and having experienced her own rather traumatic fertility journey, Marje's vision is for women and men to be more proactive in finding out early about their fertility status, so that they can better plan and be in control of starting a family in the future.
Marje believes that everyone, men and women, should be taking more care and interest in knowing their fertility levels. Fertile Matter's strategy, vision and direction is geared around providing that knowledge to empower people to make the right fertility decisions.
Like many women, she expected that it would be easy to fall pregnant and put off starting a family. After a long period of trying and failing to conceive she decided to find out why. Through investigations, Marje found out the cause of the difficulty: endometrial and ovarian cancer, rare at the age of 35.
She was faced with a cancer diagnosis, the inability to bear children, and having to have a life-saving hysterectomy which would possibly force her into menopause. Prior to the operation she fought for fertility preservation and successfully harvested embryos. Two and a half years later, after exploring and experiencing many different routes, her and her husband finally have a daughter through gestational surrogacy.
Interestingly, before even trying for a family, some year's earlier, Marje had, in fact, visited a gynaecologist who, looking at the healthy young woman in front of her and with only a cursory examination, had basically dismissed Marje's concerns and told her to go off and start trying. At this stage, Marje could have been alerted to her decreasing fertility which would have prompted further investigation and may well have given Marje an early indication of her cancer.
Marje says, "In hindsight, I wish I had had a service that could have tracked my fertility over the years, when I hadn't been particularly interested in getting pregnant. The tracking could have flagged up any anomalies to investigate earlier, and would have armed me with the information I needed to make decisions around my fertility. My husband and I could also have done with an expert to help us navigate the IVF clinics and help coordinate our eventual surrogacy journey in the UK. This is the vision I have for the services offered by Fertile Matters."