Donor Selection: the FenoMatch Revolution
Assisted reproduction treatments can be an emotional rollercoaster for patients, especially when gamete donation is required.
The most difficult part is the patients must confront is giving up their own genetic material. In order to offer our patients a better way to select donors, ProcreaTec has incorporated FenoMatch, a facial biometric recognition software, that finds the most suitable donor using a photograph of the recipient and the donor.
Up to now, choosing a donor consisted of looking at medical criteria such as blood types and physical characteristics i.e. race, height, complexion, skin, eye and hair color. Given that, under Spanish law, donation is anonymous, these criteria were not enough for some recipients- especially because in other European countries, donation is not anonymous and a lot more information is given, as a result.
To select a donor, we perform a number of medical tests; a general health examination and an infectious disease panel including HIV, Hepatitis B, C and Syphilis. We also study the candidate’s complete family history and we perform a psychological evaluation. Additionally, at ProcreaTec, recipients also have a personal interview with the doctor as well as the nurse, to take into consideration facial features that may be difficult to describe and to discuss other uncertainties the future parent or parents might have.
How does FenoMatch work?
Fenomatch, is a software developed by the Spanish startup called 9Lands. It is the first European program of its kind. This 3-D facial recognition system was developed over a two-year period of research using big data. It works in the following way: the algorithm transforms a facial image into a mathematical formula, which represents over 100 facial points and the distances between them.
The result is a precise analysis of facial data, which does not change with time or if the person gains or loses weight. This data is then compared to that of compatible donors, and a score is given (from 1-100) based on the degree of similarity; 0 being not alike at all and 100 being exactly the same as the person or their twin. This way, the most appropriate donor es identified based on the most similar bone structure, upping the chances of conceiving a child that resembles his or her parents.
Egg Donation and Delaying Motherhood
According to the latest Spanish statistics, women in Spain have their first child on average at 32.5 years of age. In 1975, when this statistic started being recorded and the average age was 25.2. In 2015, Spain was the second country in the European Union with the most first-time mothers after 40, only behind Italy, as stated by the European Statistics Agency, Eurostat.
Although this trend to delay motherhood is not exclusive to Spain, this country has had more permissive laws in terms of assisted reproduction techniques, which has allowed Spain to do a lot more research and perfect the techniques, becoming one of the leading countries in the field. The last report from the National Registry of the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF) stated that the pregnancy rates with the average pregnancy rates in Spain using the egg donation treatment are 54%, and at ProcreaTec our success rate for the same treatment is 68%.