Security agencies worldwide use Facial Recognition Software to identify terrorists and criminals. One company has taken the software used by security services throughout the world and applied it to assisting couples in their donor selection.
It can be devastating to discover you need a donor. Then, adding the stress of finding just the right donor can be overwhelming. A couple from Rockland, Maine was informed that they would need to use sperm donor. The husband was from a large family and the couple wanted the child to be more easily accepted by his relatives (very conservative New Englanders). They wanted a donor who looked like the husband, but the list of known or open donors was very limited and they could not find a match. Using the facial recognition application they uploaded the husband’s photo and received a short list of donors with a high degree of similarity to the husband at several different banks. They were able to quickly find a match from a select number of possibilities and proceeded to have a child who everyone swears is the spitting image of both the father and the grandfather. Facial Recognition is software designed to compare the facial structure of one face with another. Only the advanced facial recognition biometrics now available ensures the most accurate match. Simpler photo management systems, such as Picasa, have a high rate of inaccuracy.
Another couple from Beaufort, South Carolina had several miscarriages. They were told that they would need to use an egg donor. There are literally thousands of egg donors from dozens of different programs. They searched for several months and were not able to find the donor or the program that was quite right for them. A friend had seen an article on the facial recognition application and suggested they try. They uploaded the wife’s photo. The system found several donors who closely matched the wife’s facial structure in different programs across the United States and in Europe. They contacted several of the programs and eventually selected both a donor and a program which met their requirements. A beautiful baby girl was born afterwards with the mother’s eyes and mouth and the father’s nose and chin. In this case narrowing the choices to a select few enabled the couple to achieve their dream of having a family.
Today, more same sex couples want to share the parenting experience. Couples using the system to match the facial characteristics of one parent across gender while using the biological tissue of the other parent is one way to enable both parents to participate. The child can have characteristics of both parents.
Every face has distinguishable landmarks: underlying bone and tissue structure that make up facial features. The first process in advanced Facial Recognition identifies these structures as nodal points such as distance between the eyes, shape of the face, width of nose, etc. and measures them. The Second Process is Surface Texture Analysis. This analysis breaks the image of the skin into smaller units. These units are then converted to mathematical expressions. The system distinguishes between lines, facial hair, pores and the actual skin texture. The Third Process uses a Vector Template to confirm the subject and validate the facial recognition. The software identifies key features of the subject and extrapolates them to underlying bone and tissue structure. Using all three methods produces a match that is both accurate and precise.
Instead of looking at thousands of bios and pictures or having to choose a donor without being able to see a photo, this software narrows down in seconds to just a select list of donors across the multiple agencies that actually look like the patient. Searches include the largest donor pool from multiple agencies and can be modified for eye and hair color, ethnic background, height, education, etc.
Facial recognition can provide confidence in the choices intended parents are making which result in a more positive experience going through the infertility process. Also, studies have shown that parents who see resemblance of themselves in their children, form a stronger bond with the child. Many banks, agencies, and physicians’ offices are using facial recognition as a helpful tool to improve the fertility treatment experience for the patient.
Dr. Margaret Vereb
DonorMatchMe, Medical Director