Austin couple Maureen and Marc Brown tried to conceive a baby for 2½ years. With each month came another disappointment.
“We failed 30 times, and we were sick of failing,” Marc Brown says.
They had bought a house with extra room for a child and it was empty. They would walk around their neighborhood and see people with children and babies. Friends and family members were starting to ask.
Father’s Day and Mother’s Day were always hard.
“It’s very triggering,” Maureen Brown says. “It’s like your body is not doing what it’s supposed to do.”
“What are we doing wrong?” Marc Brown adds. “Why is this not happening?”
They found out they had unexplained infertility. “We were both perfectly healthy,” he says.
They were about to try intrauterine insemination when they started talking to some neighbors, a lesbian couple, who recommended using a medical syringe filled with sperm.
They understood how that was supposed to work, but Marc Brown says, “It was a hot mess to use.”
That’s when Maureen Brown drew what she thought a syringe for this purpose would need to look like to make it more functional.
“We thought we could improve upon it, to go smoother, more efficiently for the person going through this process,” she says.
That drawing became the Mosie kit, a box that comes with two single-use Mosie syringes that have lubrication to them, a collection cup and instructions. They now sell for $89 on their site, mosiebaby.com
With daughter June, now 5, they ended up using a fertility specialist and intrauterine insemination. To conceive their son, Frank, 3, they tried a prototype of Mosie and got pregnant right away. They were actually just product testing.
“We wanted to make sure it was a smooth experience, not necessarily to get pregnant,” he says. “We didn’t think it would happen right away, and it happened right away.”
Now the Browns have been able to leave their previous jobs, him as a photographer and her as an administrator at the University of Texas. In her previous job, she would fly out to Silicon Valley to meet with UT alums, which helped her learn more about being an entrepreneur.
While Mosie is registered with the FDA, they have not done clinical trials on it to test how it compares with other methods of insemination, but they have talked to doctors who now recommend it to their patients.
And every day, they receive success stories on their Facebook page, he says. Often they are from couples like themselves, or LGBTQ couples or couples using a surrogate.
Marc Brown likes to think of Mosie as “the Uber for sperm.”
For him, it saved on the anxiety of trying to conceive. “From a guy's point of view, when trying to conceive there’s a lot of emotional baggage with it,” he says.