A joint program between EPFL Innovation Park and Groupe Mutuel
Call for Application 2022 Opening soon!
Next Roadshow November 17th
Program Duration 9 months
May 27, 2021

Are you trying to conceive? Just take a deep breath!

Innovative breath analysis tracker by Carbomed Medical Solutions is disrupting the fertility sector.

Becoming pregnant can be a joyful journey for some, and a challenging one for others. Additionally, knowledge around fertility cycles is limited and the solutions that work for some, don’t work for others.

The truth is that becoming pregnant is actually hard and, according to WHO, more than 48 million couples worldwide fail to conceive a child after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse, and The World Bank reports a declining worldwide fertility rate since 1960, revealing the alarming rise of reproductive problems.

Infertility can have many different root causes, but the effects (including shame, depression, physical strain for women that opt for artificial insemination procedures) are certainly common for most couples.  

Yet, in many cases, getting pregnant “simply” means finding the right moment. As a matter of fact, if women match the time of intercourse with their fertile window (the notable ovulation day), the chances of getting pregnant increase considerably. Therefore, cycle tracking and good timing could let many couples overcome a major and rather draining concern. But estimating the fateful fertile day is no walkover: studies show that only 12.7% of women correctly estimate their ovulation day.  

Here is what breathe ilo is trying to solve.

Revolutionising the field of fertility tracking

breathe ilo is the world’s first fertility tracker that uses breath analysis to determine a woman’s ovulation pattern and fertile days with incredible accuracy (and in the easiest way possible!).

All that it takes is to breathe into the handheld device for 60 seconds and check the results displayed on the app. The breath analysis tracker measures the pCO2 parameter (the carbon dioxide partial pressure in the breath) and, through consistent daily use, it creates a cycle diary that documents cycle patterns and symptoms like breast tenderness, PMS, cervical mucus, or headaches.

This makes breathe ilo the first and only live tracking device able to detect the full 6-days range during which women are fertile, helping them to understand their body better and providing gynaecologists with insightful information to give a proper and better diagnosis.

The science that makes it work

It seems crazy to believe that the innovation behind this technology is in the breath. Yet, the relationship between the female cycle and CO2 has been known since 1951.

A few days before ovulation, women go into a hormonal-caused (and unnoticed) hyperventilation and this excessive increase in respiration leads to a lowering of carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2) in the blood-air barrier.  

Such change can be measured via respiratory air analysis, making it possible to predict the time of ovulation over several days, because the CO2 value is higher in the first phase of the cycle (luteal phase) than in the second phase of the cycle (follicular phase).

breathe ilo measures exactly this change in CO2 concentration, letting women learn about their bodies and cycle phases better, whether they want to have a child or not.

A personal reason behind the story

breathe ilo’ s co-founder, Dr. Horst Rüther, medical technology expert, and his wife struggled for over 5 years with an unsatisfied childwish. After adopting their first child, his wife got pregnant with Bastian.

With the experience behind them, the whole family was very ambitious about helping couples to conceive, and when Dr. Rüther met Dr. Ludwig Wildt, reproductive medicine expert, who had researched for years on the relationship between CO2 and the female cycle, they decided to work together and bring the brainchild to life.

Very keen to develop an easy-to-use and high-quality product, they created breathe ilo, whose company is now led by Horst’s son, Bastian (CEO) andLisa Krapinger (CMO).

The future of women’s wellbeing

There is nothing more evident to highlight but the results of this innovative technology. The method of breathe ilo works, and it has already helped 1 in 3 women fall pregnant in just 3 months!

The palm-sized device has already been successfully launched in Austria and Germany, and the company is now looking for growth opportunities. Through the Tech4Eva accelerator program, they aim at building different partnerships worldwide to make the product accessible for all women while, at the same time, moving forward with their research.

“There is a major gender data gap. We believe that irregular cycles or women’s physical limitations are under-researched, and we need to change that. That is the reason why a lot of our revenue goes directly into female research. We have a science team in our company, working in collaboration with fertility clinics to gain much more knowledge about the female body. It is a long process, but we will improve breathe ilo tremendously over the next years” explains Lisa Krapinger.

“With the accelerator program, we can learn a lot about new markets, regulatory and marketing strategies. The great expertise of all the mentors and program coordinators are very helpful to bring breathe ilo to another level.”