Every year, thousands of women struggling with fertility issues use egg donors so they can have babies of their own. However, getting a child who looks like them is generally left up to the doctor’s judgement and fate. Until now, that is.
A European company called Ovobank has created a facial recognition app called Ovomatch that not only uses the recipient’s phenotypical characteristics—like height, hair color, eye color, skin color, etc.—but also facial characteristics to find the best match possible to ensure the child will look as much like the parents as possible.
Most countries in the world require anonymous egg donation, which means the real identity of the donor is never released to the recipient or the child once they get older. This means it’s the doctor’s job to find a donor that physically resembles the recipient. Not only can that be taxing for the doctor, but it’s also completely subjective.
With Ovomatch, the recipient need only enter a bit about their general characteristics, then snap a selfie. The app will do the rest, pairing the recipient with the best match from its donor database. The recipient is not allowed to see what’s going on, nor do they ever see an image of the potential donor match. This means Ovomatch is completely compliant with anonymity laws where required.
As Luke Dormehl writes at Digital Trends:
After this process is carried out, the app sends out two reports: One to the collaborating IVF center so they can begin to program the treatment, and the other to Ovobank so that it can prepare the necessary paperwork related to the egg donation. Finally, Ovobank will get in contact with the collaboration center, and arrange shipment of the eggs.
Of course, at the current time this service is only available in countries where Ovobank is present, but it’s a good indication of the direction this industry is heading. As time goes on it’s likely the app (and company) will enjoy wider adoption as parents seek out more ideal donor matches.