For some women their only option to conceive is by using donor eggs. The decision to use a donor egg can be daunting, with a great fear of the unknown.
The biggest patient concerns are:
What will the baby look like?
What about potential genetic problems?
What about health issues later in life for the child?
How intelligent will the child be?
However, since last year some clinics in Spain are using innovative new technology to address some of these concerns. Facial recognition technology can provide reassurance to potential donor-egg recipients of what the potential offspring might look like. Via an app recipients upload a ‘selfie’, then the facial recognition software matches the recipient’s facial characteristics to potential donors.
The app is very simple to use, and collects the personal and phenotypic data of the recipient, capturing blood group, height, eye colour, which is then entered into the data bank. Once this step is completed, the app offers a number of compatible donors from the egg donor database.
Next the system matches the facial characteristics of the recipient and phenotypically acceptable donors. The programme scans the recipient’s face and a facial recognition algorithm takes care of the rest, searching the database for faces with the greatest resemblance.
These donors have also been screened for a full medical history, known genetic diseases and are usually educated to university level. These donors are also sensitised to the subject of egg donation and will have undergone counselling.
Typically, an egg donor service in Spain will have around 4,000 donors, so the chance of an acceptable match is very high.
A spokesperson from one egg donor agency said, “Most people, when they choose egg donation for their treatment, would like their children to resemble them as much as possible. It’s better to do it through an objective process, a mathematical algorithm, rather than a human. A computer algorithm tends to be more accurate.”
How can you use the service?
It depends on the law in your country. If your country allows you to import and utilise anonymous donor eggs, you can use the system and have your egg transported from Spain to an appropriate IVF clinic of your choice. If your country does NOT allow this, like the UK for example, then you can still use the app to choose your donor, but you would have to travel to Spain for the actual IVF service.
Please click here for more information on how to download the app.