In January, I was interviewed by the fabulous Kat Stevens from Fertility Rewire to talk about Hoopsy, my fertility journey, life, and everything in between! You can listen to the episode below or read the transcript underneath.
Welcome to the Fertility Rewire podcast. I’m your host Kat Stevens, a fertility therapist, educator, and advocate. I want to share with you what you should have been told and what you should be being told. Basically, to arm you on this journey so that you have the right information to be able to ask the right questions to get the answers you need. You can find me at fertilityrewire.com. I hope you enjoy the podcast.
Welcome to this episode of the fertility rewire podcast. Before I start and introduce my guest, I have a question for you. How many ovulation predictor kit sticks do you think you have used so far? How many single-use pregnancy tests do you think you’ve used so far? Because I’m introducing you now to the lovely Lara Solomon, who is from a company called Hoopsy. We’re going to talk more about that. Laura has set out to aim to reduce this single use of plastic.
If you think about how many you’ve been using, this would make a massive difference to the environment. So we’re looking at the pregnancy test, first of all, which is Hoopsy’s first product which is 99% paper, which is massive, and it’s 99% accurate, which I love the symbiosis at the 99% there. So let me introduce Lara to you. First of all, she’s going to pop on and say hello, and then we’re going to start to chat. So Lara…
Lara: Hello Kat. Thanks for having me.
Kat: It’s so good to have you. I’m so excited to hear about this when we’re thinking about this single-use plastic, aren’t we, and where it ends up? I know from my clients and people I speak to just how many tests they’re using, depending on how long they’ve been trying. It sounds like a big difference. So tell me, what brought all this about Lara? Why did you do this?
Lara: Very good question. So in 2021, I went to Spain and did two donor embryo transfers. And before I started that, I joined lots of Facebook groups for women that are trying to conceive or are single mothers and that kind of thing. I just kept seeing all these pictures, of people putting up with their tests. So some people put one some people put 10, and some people put more. And I was just like, I had no idea how many tests women used when they tested. I had no idea about the amount of plastic that was involved in all these tests. So just something I never thought about.
So I did my transfers. Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful. But I couldn’t stop thinking about these tests. I just thought, why is there a better way to do this? This seems so silly. Obviously, you can do strip tests, which you dip into a cup of urine. But women prefer midstream tests. So I just thought, well, it’s nothing out there. I’m gonna do it.
Kat: Good for you.
Lara: So well I drew out, I just thought I want something made from as much to be as plastic-free as possible. So paper-based. I contacted lots and lots of manufacturers around the world to try and find someone that would actually work with me to produce this test. And because a sneaky inside effect for people that don’t know inside those plastic pregnancy test cases is a small paper test.
So all we’ve done is we’ve taken that small paper test and made it bigger, well in really simple terms, and we’ve reduced the amount of plastic that’s in the test. So now it’s 99% plastic free the only tiny weeny bit of plastic is like a layer of nail polish thickness and that’s where the results show up. We’re actually working on a second version of the test which will be plastic-free, and that will be out should be later this year.
Kat: Wow. That’s fantastic. So the pregnancy test is available and where can people get hold of that test?
Lara: You can buy online through our websites on hoopsy.com. Or you can buy on Superdrug online and we’re on their website. We’re on chemists for you. We’re in a few eco stores but probably the easiest is just to come to our site or Superdrug.
Kat: Yeah. And Hoopsy is H-O-O-P-S-Y.com? And I’ll go right, and I’ll put the link in the show notes for that. Absolutely. So, Hoopsy is not just about the single-use pregnancy test, is it? It’s not, tell us a little bit more about Hoopsy, and how it was born. And what inspired you and what it does?
Lara: Well, let’s start with the name. So the word “hoop” in Dutch, means hope. And when you’re doing a pregnancy test, obviously, you’re hoping either that you are or aren’t pregnant, depending on your situation. So that seemed very fitting. And then then I thought “hoops”, adding the s because when you go through your fertility journey, it’s like jumping through a lot of hoops. There are so many ups and downs. And then they added the -y on because it rounds it out and makes it sound good.
But Hoopsy started after my IVF, like, two donor embryo transfers through that I just kind of couldn’t get this out of my mind. I’m not a massive Greenie, but I do think about single-use plastic, and I do, you know, try not to use it. And I just thought I couldn’t see why we can’t do it.
Having opened the test and seeing that it’s just a little piece of paper inside. I just thought, why can’t we? Why can’t it be all made from paper? There’s really no reason at all it is because it’s just the way it’s always been done. And, I’m really having been through the IVF journey and egg harvesting. Before that. I was really I’m really passionate about fertility journeys, educating women on their fertility as well as keeping plastic out of the landfill.
I know how hard it is to go through IVF I know it’s you feel, yup, all those injections. So all the highs and the lows and the hoping and then the disappointment is so hard. I just felt that people needed support on that. So we kind of like the business I see is kind of, well, first of all, we’re about removing plastic from landfill and secondly, supporting women on their fertility journey. And thirdly, we’ve got to make some money so we can do the other two.
But yeah, I really want to help educate women as well on fertility because I don’t know about when you were growing up, Kat, but I know when I was growing up, it was always that don’t have sex because you’re gonna get pregnant. It was kind of like it was pretty much a foregone conclusion.
Kat: Yeah, don’t merely easy apparently, as soon as you start your periods, isn’t it really? That’s why I always say no, I’m, I’m about telling people what they should have been told in school, and not what I get why we want to discourage people from having babies. I know it is because you are more fertile, potentially in your teens. But it’s just such confusion that you ought you’ve been telling your body all this time the worst thing that can happen to you is to get pregnant. But you don’t know where the switch is to flick it to say that actually, now we’re going to think the other way. So yeah, we’ve kind of we’re on the same lines there, for sure. Definitely. Brilliant. So what sort of information if you’ve got on the website,
Lara: We’ve got lots of different blog posts all about anything from my journey through to nutritionists and acupuncturists, doctors writing different written articles. Basically, to try and help people understand what they’re going through and gather information from a reliable source. Because the problem often is that you ask in a Facebook group, and someone will tell you what someone’s told them or their friends or aunties. cousins told them. And it might not be as accurate as such as what was the actual truth?
Kat: I always, you know, try and encourage my clients to differ away from Facebook groups and forums because there’s a big difference between fact and opinion. When you see that something has worked for somebody else, when I often say in podcast episodes, just because it worked for Jane, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. There’s a reason why it’s worked for Jane. You know, I have people, I’m sure you’ve come across it as well, that they’ve read that melatonin can help. So they take that, and they’ve read that DHEA can help. So they take that, and they’re taking all of these supplements without any professional advice. And without knowing why it is. It’s putting all your eggs, excuse the pun, in one basket. But not necessarily with the right ingredients? That’s, that’s really what’s going on?
Lara: Yeah, I think it’s really hard because everyone is different. Even when you do IVF, they start off by giving you pretty much the same as everyone else. And then they realise that actually, that affects your body in this way or that way. And then they have to change it. Yeah, I think it’s so important that you know what your situation is and what you actually need rather than saying, Well, everyone needs iron or everyone needs this, whereas actually too many of these things are not good, either.
Kat: No, no, more thorough testing. But you know, I could harp on about that. Yeah, all day, every day, but don’t get me started on that. So what’s next? What’s next for Hoopsy? Lara, what have you got coming up? What are the plans for the future?
Lara: Oh, my goodness. We’ve got so much coming up. It’s crazy. Well, the very next thing that’s coming up with we’re launching an online community. I noticed that you don’t like forums, but ours is actually gonna have a lot of experts in it. So rather than a group that’s not monitored and doesn’t have professionals in it as what have, you know, fertility experts and doctors, nurses, acupuncturists or that kind of thing.
So the idea is that you can get support from other women going through the journey. But also, you can get some accurate information if you are looking for information or do have questions. So, I’ve actually got a waitlist for that at the moment, which is very exciting. That launched in February. And then we’ll be launching an ovulation test in the second half of this year. So it’s kind of July, August time. Then we’ve got our 100% natural organic test coming out, hopefully at the end of the year, or the beginning of next year. So lots of things going on. We’re, yeah, it’s gonna be a great year for us.
Kat: Oh, wow. That’s really exciting. So 100% recyclable? Wow. Yeah. A tiny bit of plastic. That’s like a bit of nail varnish. You were saying that covers to result window?
Lara: Yes, to get rid of, yeah, to get rid of that. But also, we want to choose to make sure the materials we’re using are as sustainable as possible. At the moment, because it wasn’t developed with the manufacturer, there are potentially other options. Like so when I launched the test in July last year, the pouch that the test comes in is actually plastic, which is not ideal.
And we’ve now actually found that we’ve got a compostable pouch option. So the next production run we do will be using a compostable pouch. So we’re trying to just improve things all the time to get to that best possible product, not just one that works, but also is good for the planet.
Kat: And then how does it compare cost-wise with the conventional tests that people have?
Lara: It’s about the same amount. So that in terms of whether you bought a clear blue or first response, it will be the same on a per-test basis. We sell in three or five and ten packs. So slightly bigger pack sizes, because it’s more efficient to ship bigger packs, pack sizes. And also, we know that women don’t just use one test.
Kat: Yeah, yeah, no, I love that. I love that. Because you can’t even say, Oh, I’m going out of my way to do this. Because it’s green. It’s the same price. The accuracy sounds the same. Yeah. So you know, why not? You’re doing a bit of extra good there, for sure. Thinking about the planet.
It makes me think about IVF as a whole because the plastics used in the process are huge, you know, you think of that. The syringes and all of that, you know that that’s not going to change. We’ve moved on from glass syringes, you know, many years ago, so that’s not going to change. But it’s things like the progesterone pessaries, and you know that. The applicator is a single-use applicator for each of the progesterone pessaries it’s just bonkers.
Lara: I actually reused mine? I ended up washing them between use.
Kat: But still, you are prescribed them. So you will still have had them? I know. That’s the thing I know, given them, aren’t you? Yes, and yeah.
Lara: I mean, you can, I don’t if you see, now you can actually recycle blister packs. Some pharmacies will take the empty, you know, pill packets, and they can be recycled. But that’s still not done that widely.
Kat: No. It’s like, you know, if you go on to a shop with a loyalty card, and you forget your loyalty card, and they say, oh, it’s alright, we’ll put it on your receipt. How many people go back? Because I say to them, there’s no point I’m not going to come back. I’m not going to remember to come back that I’ve got points on a receipt in my purse next time. Same thing, you have to make an extra trip to go to the pharmacy.
So whilst I applaud that, in principle, it’s still a lot of work. We’ve got to make things easier for people so that almost we get to the point where there isn’t a choice, you know, that everything is, you know, recyclable or biodegradable. In that sense. Really? Yeah, no, I really applaud what you’re doing. It’s really an idea, and I’m sure it took a lot of persistence and work to find a company to make it because, you know, people say it is not broken. Why fix it?
You know, if people are using these ovulation sticks, there hasn’t been a big buyout from people that they want it to be recyclable. So, you know, I think that’s fantastic. Although I don’t like forums, I like moderated forums. Yes, I do like moderated forums with experts there. And of course, you know, we’re not experts discounting other people’s information, but just that discussion.
What I love is you get a lot of different experts in fertility in a room, especially if you’ve got a doctor and you’ve got a Holistic Therapist. You’ve got, you know, somebody like me who’s educating and providing that information. Been an interesting discussion that really couldn’t because I, you know, I do go on about the health model for fertility being wrong on so many levels of wrong. And people aren’t getting the support that they need. So, hopefully, this is another step forward for people to get that support. Really. That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic.
Lara: Yeah, definitely. I think it’s so important that all these topics are talked about because, I mean, it was great when Jennifer Aniston came out last year about doing IVF. Because just the more people that talk about it and normalise it, it will be easier is for people that are going through it.
Lara: Yeah, yeah. And the pain of, you know, all that speculation on her, you know, that everyone has on their own level in their own bubbles, don’t they? You know, having come through Christmas and the holidays recently, it’s a horrendous time where people are asking sensitive questions, which is none of their business.
And it’s, you know, it is, it’s a silent pain, and it becomes a secret stigma, doesn’t it? It is, it’s good to get it out there in a safe space, you know, a safe space where, because, you know, people when they work with me, and you know, when people give testimonials and things, I never share their name, because it’s such a private experience. People don’t want that publicised. Same in my group program, you know, people need to be safe.
There’s a direct messaging option. And there’s the group option because even in a small group, you don’t always feel comfortable sharing it do they? Well, I’m very excited about what you’ve got going on now and also about what the future holds. So you’ve got the online community that’s coming up. You’ve got the ovulation test that’s coming up as well. Also, for the listeners of the podcast, I’m going to share in the show notes a link that Lara has given me that will allow you to get your hands on a free sample of the pregnancy test and be good to have that one in the cupboard, having it ready. Ready and hopefully waiting.
Definitely. Because I think when it’s a new product, even though pregnancy test is not new, it’s a new way of delivering it. People kind of have preconceived ideas. I’ve had a lot of people say, but when you wee on it, won’t just the paper disintegrate. I’m like, well, and then you’re like left holding this little piece. And I know because it’s actually more like a card than paper. Yeah. And it does. It’s fine. It holds its shape. But I think it’s good for people actually to try it firsthand and see that it does work.
And yes, you know, you do have a result. And yeah, it’s I think it’s definitely tests that are so expensive. Especially if you’re trying. We’ve been trying for a long time. So this is a good way to try it, but not have to worry, oh, I’ve bought three packs. And now I don’t actually, and it’s not actually what I want. So it’s a really good way to reduce the risk on that as well. Yeah,
Kat: No, absolutely. And you know, for everything that you’re doing in the community, as in the for the environment as well. I think it’s fantastic. So I’ll put that link in the notes. So whatever platform you’re listening on, just scroll to the notes, and you’ll find that link, and you can get your hands on a free Hoopsy pregnancy test or the test called Hoopsy as well. I’ve said that what is an eco pregnancy test.
Perfect. Perfect. That’s brilliant. Well, Lara, it’s been fascinating talking to you. And you know, as I said, I’m excited about this. I’m excited about what you’ve got coming in the future. And something else you can find on Hoopsy. Yeah, actually, because I have been on the Hoopsy website, and is that, you know, links to podcasts. I’m happy to say that I have been featured on that.
So that’s very exciting. And so you know, if you’re looking for reliable resources that somebody is recommending someone who’s been through what you’re going through, then have, you know, pop over to Hoopsy.com and see what’s on there and see what resources you can get. Because the more education and write information we can get to people, the more people move from hope to trust. You know, that’s something I talk about a lot. I don’t know if you can see Lara. We’re on zoom here.
I have a necklace that I wear here on one side, it says hope, and on the other side, it says trust, and that’s always been something I’ve used depending on the mood I’m in for the day ahead of me to do with other medical issues, but I love the fact that Hoopsy he comes from hope I did a little clutch to my, to my chest there to my necklace. I’m not entirely sure which side it’s on today. But there we go. So rambling, I do apologize. So all the information will be in the show notes, and fantastic things coming from Lara in Hoopsy. Is there anything else you wanted to say before we finish, Laura?
Lara: I just wanted to say if anyone wants to get in touch, I’m, I know sometimes when you’re going through stuff, it’s well, it is hard when you go through IVF, and that kind of thing. If anyone does want to reach out and talk to me about their journey and what they’re doing and just have someone to download to or whatever, I’m more than happy to be there. Because it’s, it’s hard. I know it’s hard. I had people there for me when I was going through it. One friend who she’d done eight embryo transfers before she got her daughter, and all through IVF. And so I was, you know, I just, Yeah, I just think it’s important that we support other people that are going through the journey.
Kat: Yeah, absolutely brilliant. Where will people get hold of if you’ve got socials that I can share? We can get those.
Lara: Yeah, you can find us on Instagram Hoopsy. You can search Hoopsy eco on Instagram. Or if you go to the website, there’s a contact form, you can email or you can WhatsApp or call, whatever, whatever you prefer. There was actually a lovely lady I was talking to before Christmas. This is a really nice story, Kat, because she messaged and said, When can I use the tests? I’m seven days past ovulation.
And I said, we talked about her cycle length and everything and kind of established what would be the best day anyway, she ordered, and we sent them out to her. And then I got a message after Christmas. So showing me a picture of her test, saying, can you just confirm what my result is? And she was pregnant. So that’s what she wanted. So it was such a lovely, lovely story. It’s so lovely to be part of those moments.
Kat: Yeah. Yeah. No, it is. It’s, you know, working in fertility is hard because of what you’re, you know, what you’re coming across and who you know, for myself, who you’re helping and their stories, but actually that feeling of being able to help someone and not just to get pregnant, actually, because there are different things that people see as successes before that, but to be part of that journey, and part of that success. That’s fantastic. That is that’s a nice thing to have been able to say.
Lara: It is. I think a lot of people going through it. It’s about reassurance. Because rationally, they probably already know, like, they can already read the test, or whatever it is, but they just want someone else to reassure them that they are. It is right, and they are doing the right thing. And I just think it’s great to be able to offer that.
Kat: Brilliant. Brilliant. Well, thank you very much, Larry, thanks for coming on the podcast. It’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you, and I wish you every success with all of the endeavours with Hoopsy coming in the future. Thank you.
I really hope you enjoyed that episode. And whether you’re trying for your first child, your second child, or more, whether you’ve just started on your journey or you’ve been on the twists and turns of this for a long time. I really hope this information is going to help you ask the right questions to get the right answers. And if you want to know any information about fertility rewire about working with me or the free resources that I have available, please visit www.fertilityrewire.com Until next time.