Watch the webinar with Joshua Rackstraw, Former Product Owner at Fenomatch, who is explaining the idea behind Fenomatch and the algorithm that helps doctors find the right egg/sperm donor for the recipient.
In Spain and many countries in Europe, the patients don’t get a lot of information about the donors. The Fenomatch platform has been created to do a donor selection which can be used by clinics around the world. If you’re having or considering fertility treatment with an egg or sperm donation, then your medical team can use this platform to search for a donor using the latest techniques and artificial intelligence. Fenomatch has been able to help 7 000 families to find a donor so far. Fenomatch cooperates with some of the biggest clinics in Europe.
The standard criteria that are checked when looking for a donor are things like hair colour, hair type, eye colour, ethnicity, skin tone, height body, and type, not weight because your weight can fluctuate, all those features are phenotypic. These features are important because they affect what children look like, so for example, if you have blue eyes and your partner has blue eyes, then you can find a donor that has blue eyes. The idea is that the donor-assisted child will have a greater resemblance to other members of the family, essentially, as is done in most clinics.
Fenomatch has one more added feature, which is facial matching. It’s possible to compare 12 000 data points to find the donor that looks most like the patient. It works with egg or sperm donation and heterosexual and homosexual couples. It’s possible to use photographs of men or women to find egg or sperm donors. Fenomatch’s algorithm was built by analysing the faces of members of the same family to let the computer learn what traits are phenotypic.
How does it work?
First, you give a photograph of your face to your doctor at the clinic, it has to be very similar to a passport photograph, you have to be looking straight at the camera, you should have your facial muscles relaxed, you shouldn’t be smiling, it works best with no makeup, no jewellery and no glasses and that’s the way to get the best result.
Other things that are also included in the donor’s profile are hobbies and interests. These are not genetic traits, but it’s completely normal for intended parents to want to know information about the donors. Genetically, it’s not important, but psychologically it can be incredibly helpful when a patient is making this very difficult decision. Blood type can also be important in some specific situations. Genetic screening or DNA testing is also very important because you may be perfectly healthy, have no symptoms, and have no family history, but you can still be the carrier of a recessive gene for something like cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s haemophilia, colour blindness, or spinal muscular atrophy. Several genetic disorders can be tested, and carrier screening checks those recessive genes, and then the risk of passing those genes onto the child can be minimized.
Ethnicity verification is something which can be done by AI nowadays as well. There are essentially two points in the process in which ethnicity verification can be done, so firstly, the photograph of the donor can be verified to make sure it matches the stated ethnicity of that donor, and if you’re doing phenotype matching, then ethnicity verification will check that the donor and the recipient are of the same ethnicity.
The psychological aspect behind donor selection is again crucial in the egg donation process. If you’re looking for a donor, you should do a lot of research, a lot of investigation and learn as much as you can. Then take the same amount of time just to reflect on your options, come to terms with the decision, talk to your partner, talk to your fertility counsellor, and do all the things to feel comfortable before proceeding with the egg donation cycle.