Updated: Jan 31
WCF-Mates! is a segment where we feature and showcase the lives of those who have collaborated with WOMENCANFLY.CO. (Commonly used by Australians, ‘mate’ refers to a friend or someone you are close to.)
In Vol.4, we meet Anna Yamauchi who is the Founder of the fertility coaching platform, Lumirous which she established in Malaysia.
Pregnancy and childbirth are inseparable from a woman's career and life but how it works and the processes are surprisingly unknown. Everyone tends to think that they’ll have children if they wish but it’s surprising that many people experience infertility.
Why did Anna launch Lumirous and why did she start a business in Malaysia? We hear about Anna's path to where she is now and her future plans.
Who is Anna?
In 2020, Anna launched the fertility platform ‘Lumirous’ in Malaysia.
She had visited Malaysia many times since she was a student and was fascinated by the young people who were full of vitality and thought about wanting to do business in Southeast Asia one day.
A turning point came when Anna was working for a travel agency. She raised her hand without hesitation to apply for an in-house job posting when an opportunity to transfer to the Malaysian branch came up. She had a two-year posting but during that time she wanted to do something herself so decided to launch a medical tourism platform with a friend.
Medical tourism allows people with illnesses and concerns to connect with hospitals and clinics around the world. Anna dealt with various categories like cancer treatment, stem cell therapy and cosmetic surgery but the demand for fertility and infertility treatment was particularly high.
Anna also had the painful experience of a miscarriage. At that time, she couldn't talk to anyone and held it in alone. After a while, when she told her friend about her miscarriage experience, her friend told her she was undergoing fertility treatment. Anna discovered that there were many people around her who have had fertility troubles and found it difficult to confide in others.
There are about 2.7 million people with infertility in Japan. Anna wanted to support people who couldn’t talk to anyone and felt like they were alone. From there, Lumirous was born.
Anna’s amazing accomplishments
There are still not that many Japanese women starting businesses overseas but Anna got interested in starting a business when she was 15. She wondered if there was anything she could do for African child soldiers. There was also the option of volunteering which is a great activity but it couldn’t be completed like digging a well or building a school and it was difficult for a salaried worker to provide sustainable and dynamic support for the next 10 to 20 years. When Anna consulted with her father, he said, "Why don't you start a business?"
As advised, Anna studied business at Oxford Brookes University Graduate School with the goal of starting a business by the age of 30. After graduating, she got a job at a major retailer but changed jobs to a travel agency in search of a way to go overseas. She says she’s clumsy but is working towards approaching her goal of ‘entrepreneurship’ + ‘overseas’ through her efforts.
This year, Lumirous Sdn Bhd was selected for the 22nd ‘Taiwan Accelerator AppWorks’, the largest startup accelerator in Taiwan. We’re always encouraged to see people set high goals and make the necessary efforts.
Why Lumirous and WCF collaborated
Anna saw a YouTube video where Kimiyo (Founder of WCF) was a guest and sent her a message on LinkedIn. They had a number of things in common like starting a business overseas and wanting to broaden options for women.
Lumirous’ vision is, “Creating a world where people can choose whether to give birth or not, instead of being forced to choose a child-free life because they cannot give birth to a child.”
Pregnancy and childbirth have a significant impact on a woman's career and life so Anna wanted to make it easier for those who want children and those who do not to have access to the information they’re looking for. This sentiment is the same for us at WCF.
Therefore, in order to create an opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of pregnancy, how it works and women's bodies, a scramble seminar hosted by WCF (with four sessions in total) was held in conjunction with this year's International Women's Day (March 8) where we collaborated with Lumirous for one of the seminars.
We are grateful for receiving a message on LinkedIn which led to an opportunity like this!
Making fertility more accessible through seminars
The theme of the seminar in collaboration with Lumirous was ‘Ask a Pregnancy Coach - The Fundamentals of Fertility and Fertility Treatment’.
On the day of the event, Anna and Yurino, a fertility coach, explained fertility treatment and fertility basics. Yurino is a midwife and has experienced fertility. Luminous’ fertility coaches are qualified as midwives, nutritionists, counsellors and more and almost everyone, not just Yurino, has experienced fertility.
At the end of the seminar, participants asked questions and shared their concerns and Yurino gave us friendly answers using real-life experiences which made the seminar highly satisfying.
Pregnancy is carried out by a couple but many people may think that ‘pregnancy = a woman’s possession". From a male perspective, going to a gynecology clinic may not be accessible.
Through this seminar, everyone should be aware of how pregnancy works and the changes in a woman’s body caused by pregnancy. This is not only for women who want to get pregnant but also for men, students, and those who aren’t even thinking about pregnancy yet.
The long-awaited pregnancy seminar for men and couples will be held in August 2021! Details will be released soon, so please check @womencanfly.co.
Fertility and fertility treatment are topics that are still often taboo in Japan but Anna says she wants the world to become a place where people can say they’re doing fertility activities in the same way people say they’re on a diet.
It’s difficult to make a big change in society but small actions can change what is considered normal. We would like to work together to create a new future with Lumirous.
Thank you Lumirous!
Anna got her bachelor's and master's degrees in England. She joined AEON Retail and then worked for online reservation site Veltra and in 2018 co-founded Trambellir.com in Malaysia specialising in medical tourism. In 2020, she founded Lumirous, a femtech matching platform for fertility coaching.
Check out WCF’s latest seminar.
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