Halle Tecco: On self-care and IVF
As big fans of everything self-care, we were super excited to chat with Halle Tecco, Founder and CEO of Natalist, science-backed fertility products curated for women trying to conceive. You can call it "the self-care of conception".
On her journey to motherhood.
It took me over four years and a good deal of science to become a mom. During those long months of repeated negative pregnancy tests, I felt disconnected from my body which just wasn’t getting pregnant. I see now that my journey worked out as it should have. My relationship with my partner grew stronger as we learned patience and how to work together as a team—skills that have translated well to parenting a toddler!
How was Natalist conceived?
I had the initial idea years ago when I was purchasing all these fertility products (e.g. basal thermometers, ovulation tests) and just loathed the experience. I didn’t understand why the products had to be so ugly, and why I had to sift through so much junk to find what worked.
I started looking at the space with my investor hat on. I did not intend to start the company, I was hoping to find an existing company. So I dug into the macro: market size, incumbents, trends, etc. It checked all the boxes in terms of market size and exit opportunities. But no one was doing exactly this, so I then thought I would find a CEO, pitch them my idea and give them the funding to get up and running. I actually bought the domain "Baby Someday" on Feb 22, 2016, right after my first round of IVF. I began interviewing potential CEOs but ultimately realized this needed to be my second act.
Once I decided to dive in, I brought on a few key people to help us really understand the micro dynamics. We interviewed dozens of women, did a survey of 1,200 pregnant women, and hosted focus groups. We realized so many women felt the same way about the "TTC" (trying to conceive) experience and were ready to help us build something great.
Any advice for women going through IVF?
You are the only one who can be your best advocate, so learn as much as possible about the science of IVF. Learn about the injections, the timeline, how many embryos to transfer, etc.. Knowledge is power, so don’t be intimidated by medical terminology or all the acronyms. Ask questions in online forums, read books about IVF, and always double check with your patient coordinator or nurse. Lastly, make time to love your body and yourself. Remember how lucky you are to have IVF as an option to parenthood.
"The final stage of healing is using what happens to you to help other people. That is healing in itself".
Infertility often comes with grief and loss. You have to let go of the vision of how and how long the journey will be, and learn to flow and become stronger through the process. For me, I’ve found healing by trying to understand it. I’ve spent years studying the science and the industry, and now I’m putting my thesis to work. I hope to use my journey to make the journey better for other women.
Thoughts on self-care and wellness?
Self-care is more than bubble baths and face masks. Self-care means educating and empowering yourself with knowledge. It’s about owning your journey and taking care of your physical and mental health.
Best advice you've received?
Once when I was at a drag show, I asked a drag queen for her beauty tips (her skin was radiant), and she told me to always wash my face at night
, and to moisturize
. That was about 10 years ago, and I’ve followed that routine ever since.
What does Motherhood Refined mean to you?
It means being as refined (or unrefined) as you feel like being each day. It’s okay to stay in the same pajamas all weekend or go a week without washing your hair. And it’s also okay to get glammed up when you want to feel sexy. Be you. Live you. Love you.
Halle Tecco is the Founder & CEO of Natalist. Previously she was the founder of early-stage digital health venture fund Rock Health, and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School. Halle started her career working in finance and business development roles at Intel and Apple. She is currently an advisor to the Harvard Medical School Department of Biomedical Informatics and Boston Children’s Hospital.
Halle has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. She was named as one of Goldman Sach’s Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs and listed on the Forbes 30 under 30. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and is currently pursuing her MPH from Johns Hopkins.
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