Tinder for sperm donors may not sound that appealing (what if you left swipe on "the one" and lose your potential baby daddy forever!?)—but it just could be the future of conception. And, for people trying to have a baby, this app may have a lot of answers. The new Just A Baby app launched in Australia, the U.S., and the U.K., allowing you to swipe and match with potential "biological conception partners." It’s not limited to sperm donors; there are egg donors, surrogates, and even co-parenting partners. Basically, it’s a one-stop shop for all things baby. “You’ll be matched with potential conception partners and can begin chatting in your own time and way,” the site explains. “It’s free too—there are no charges to set up a profile, review or chat with other users...Join thousands of users around the world and start your journey today.”
It may seem a little strange to be swiping willy nilly for something as important as a sperm or egg donor, but it kinda makes sense. This is the technology that we are used to: it’s straightforward, easy, and fast. And in a way, this is how it’s always been done. Sperm donors were picked from anonymous Rolodexes and folders of potentials listed with the bare minimum of information. Is this really any more strange? Plus, this service allows you to actually chat to your potential partner, which makes it way more personal. It’s easy to see why being able to talk to someone before such a big decision could be a huge reassurance.
The Need Is Huge
And the demand is certainly there. In the U.S., 20 percent of live births using in vitro fertilization involve a third party. Among women over 40, this rises to over 75 percent. When you think of how many people out there are trying to have a baby and may need a little help, it becomes clear why services like this are so important—and in demand.
“A look around the app reveals people’s varied needs for reproductive assistance,” the Huffington Post reports. “Andy, 28, says he’s wanted to be a dad since he was a teenager, so he and his partner, Peter, are looking for a surrogate. Because of her age, Jane, 50, and her 33-year-old male partner need a donated egg to help them conceive. They are willing to trade sperm for eggs. Chase, 28, is desperate to be a mother, but does not currently have or want a partner, so she needs a sperm donor or co-parent. Alicia, 37, can’t bear a child because of health issues, so she is seeking a surrogate. Kayarnah, 32, and her female partner would like to give their 2-year-old daughter a younger sibling.” There is a huge range of people out there who need services like these. And for the LGBTQ community, where people have faced discrimination and have often been denied traditional fertility services, it could be especially important.
But It’s Not All That Simple
And though the app sounds easy to use, that doesn’t mean that the entire process of surrogacy or donation is simple and straightforward. Far from it. The site rightly emphasize the fact that adoption, surrogacy, IVF, and any other pregnancy services are hugely complex areas. You obviously wouldn’t want to decide to make a baby with someone who you just swiped right on and chatted to for a few minutes. There are medical issues to consider and, of course, legal ones.
Parenting outside the traditional biological child model can be a tricky business, and the way that surrogates and donors are treated varies around the world. Their rights, responsibilities, and involvement can look very different from one area to the next. “We strongly recommend you, and anyone else involved, including spouses, de factos, partners, or intended parents, seek independent legal advice (relevant to their country) prior to conception,” the site says. I.e.: These aren’t the sort of terms that should be established just through a quick text or an app chat. You need professional help.
Many find the process of finding a donor or surrogate daunting—not to mention prohibitively expensive. This app has the potential to make dipping your toe in the water much easier and more accessible. And it should be. Not being able to have a child is devastating for some people, so anything that can make them feel more comfortable and make looking for solutions easier is a great thing—especially for those who may experience discrimination when trying to adopt or find a donor. As a jumping off point, it’s great. And it may even be the perfect way for some people to find their co-parenting or donor match. But it shouldn’t be the end of the story. The app is has huge potential to help so many people who are in a difficult position—but when it comes to actually committing to donating or surrogacy, make sure that you do your research. There’s a lot to consider and finding your match is only the beginning of the journey.