Eggschain Hopes to Lead Healthcare Into the World of Web3

The platform allows people to store records of frozen eggs, embryos and other biospecimens on the blockchain.

Written by Jeff Rumage
Published on Jun. 23, 2022
Eggschain Hopes to Lead Healthcare Into the World of Web3
Eggschain founder and CEO Wei Escala
Eggschain founder and CEO Wei Escala. | Photo: Eggschain

Sure the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.

In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. Read our round-up of Austin’s rising startups from last quarter here.

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Imagine a world in which people have lost the ability to reproduce, and an evil dictator has destroyed all medical documentation about frozen eggs, embryos and sperm.

This is the story behind a non-fungible token (NFT) created by Wei Escala, a Web3 evangelist who wants to bring reproductive health data onto the blockchain. She is the founder and CEO of Eggschain, a blockchain platform that stores data about biological specimens.

While NFTs, crypto culture and medical data may seem like an odd match, Escala argues that the IVF world and the healthcare sector could benefit from the blockchain’s unique qualities.

In addition to being immutable, or unable to be changed, the blockchain is also decentralized, which means that it would not be affected by any problems with electronic medical record software and would remain available even after a medical professional retires or an institution closes.

Escala launched Eggschain in 2018 and has since received a patent to track the chain of custody of biospecimens on the blockchain. While Eggschain is primarily focused on reproductive health, Escala said the Eggschain platform — and its patent — extends to biological specimens of all types: organs, tissues, blood, stem cells, DNA, RNA and more.

“We are the bridge between biology and the blockchain,” Escala said. “We are leading healthcare into Web3.”

The idea has received praise from Dr. Hugh Taylor, the chair of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine.

“A reliable and confidential tracking system will allow us to assure the safety and quality of frozen reproductive tissue,” he said in a statement last year. “Eggschain enables greater transparency and security for patients and health professionals.”

Escala, who has a degree in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin, has worked in marketing and digital transformation roles at Procter & Gamble, Mondelez International and Valvoline.

We are the bridge between biology and the blockchain. We are leading healthcare into Web3.”

Once she and her team launched Eggschain, she led by example by having the retrieval of her eggs documented on the platform. Her eggs are stored at the Yale School of Medicine, which along with Boston IVF Fertility Clinic, partners with Eggschain in documenting biospecimens on the blockchain.

In March, Eggschain held an online auction allowing people to bid for the first publicly-available spot for sperm storage on the blockchain. The auction garnered 66 bids, which also included the rights to an exclusive piece of artwork and a discount on storing the sperm at a participating clinic.

Anyone who stores data about their biospecimen with Eggschain has secure ownership of their information in their data wallet that is protected with a private key. Users can broadcast their data on the blockchain for visibility without exposing any personally identifiable information. Other information, such as the date of the egg retrieval, how many eggs have been stored and whether any medical tests were administered, could also be stored in the data record, Escala said.

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