July 27, 2023

From Struggle To Success: A Black Founder’s Journey To Reimagine Fertility With Digital Health Startup

Zuri Fertility

Blair Matthews, a Howard alumnus from Zanzibar, and Giuliana Zaccardelli founded a digital health startup with a mission to provide fertility services to families.

Zuri Fertility

Zuri Fertility was launched in honor of Infertility Awareness Month as a personal digital fertility clinic in June, Zuri meaning good and beautiful in Swahili.

They provide personalized fertility care with an online questionnaire to meet each individual need, a home testing tracker for both partners involved, a message center, and a larger community for the couple to get support from others.

It also offers telehealth care, education on infertility, mental health services, and financial support.

The testing involves blood work and imaging studies to allow couples to gain insights into their fertility status.

Matthews told Black Enterprise that they believe in providing holistic care to address the emotional, physical, and financial aspects of infertility.

The Inspiration

As a Black man who struggled with infertility, Matthews saw firsthand how much stigma there is around seeking help for reproductive health issues and the lack of representation and education about male fertility.

He and his wife, Jasmine Matthews, struggled to get pregnant until they had their son, Benjamin. But, they admitted they didn’t understand why this was happening, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and frustration.

As his wife Jasmine is a physician assistant, she contacted her medical network for answers.

They helped identify early solutions and the pair eventually conceived without medical intervention, saving them time and money.

They explain that their experience led to recognizing many other patients have or could experience this struggle and don’t have a solution.

Now the team wants to ensure that everyone thrown into this unexpected medical situation is afforded the medical answers needed to conceive.

“I realized that many individuals in the US struggle to access affordable and reliable fertility services due to high costs, lack of insurance coverage, and misinformation,” Matthews told Black Enterprise.

“I am driven to create a solution to simplify the fertility journey, making it less stressful, less expensive, and more joyful for couples.”

Changing misconceptions

“The stigmas, misconceptions, and lack of information surrounding fertility, particularly male fertility, were obstacles we overcame and now strive to eradicate for others,” Matthews wrote on LinkedIn. “The journey to parenthood shouldn’t be marked by stress and fear, but by hope and joy.”

Zuri Fertility emphasizes the importance of male testing alongside female testing to empower couples with the knowledge needed to make decisions.

“Digital health services can immensely benefit the Black community by easing access to care when needed,” said Matthews.

“At Zuri, our platform breaks down barriers by providing accessible and trustworthy information.”

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.