There’s a new app Just A Baby, and it’s basically just like Tinder—except for making babies. The app’s sole premise is to make it easier to find a sperm donor to have a baby, whether it’s with a partner, or as a single parent. In many ways, it sounds like a millennial parent’s (or would-be parent) dream come true–and for some, it’s an absolute nightmare waiting to happen.
The app was created by two Australian men, Paul Ryan and Gerard Edwards. The app just launched this week in the U.K. and U.S. Ryan told NBC News how the response has been largely positive:
“We had a good response, [acquiring] about 3,000 to 4,000 people over the past couple months. They’re matching up and sharing great stories about starting families.”
So, how do you use it? In quite the same way you use a dating profile, you fill out a “biological profile,” which includes what you actually want, such as sperm or egg donations, surrogacy, co-parenting, or partnering. The point is to match the user with other people in their area, although people can choose globally as well. Ryan told NBC that users don’t give details regarding their race or body type–which is supposed to eliminate prejudice:
“Some people request that information, which is fine, but we want to get away from that catalog feeling you get at a sperm bank. This is warmer, more human. Once you make it to that first stepping stone of going into a community and seeing who is out there, you can find the right person and move forward.”
Ryan went on to explain why he and Edwards created the app:
“Millennials are often in this space where they’re transient, their relationships don’t last as long, and they’re putting off having kids,” said Ryan. “I noticed so much anxiety among my friends, and thought, ‘Why not rid the stigma around trying alternative approaches, and make an app?'”
Of course, while finding a sperm donor (or surrogate, etc) more seamlessly sounds amazing–because shouldn’t becoming a parent be made easier?–it also seems like a legal hurricane in the worst way possible. It seems all too possible to find yourself in a situation where you don’t get what you signed up for–whether it’s that your surrogate stops contacting you, your sperm donor withholds crucial information, or more.
As the NBC piece points out, “the app’s mere name seems to suggest that having a baby really isn’t all that big a deal, which draws criticism from some.” While conceiving a baby shouldn’t necessarily be full of bureaucratic nonsense, becoming a parent is a big deal–and maybe shouldn’t be handled like Baby R’ Tinder.
Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh, a fertility specialist, told NBC:
“There’s no such thing as just a baby. From my perspective, pregnancy is the most important journey in someone’s life.”
Valerie Landis, a 34 year-old woman who works in medical sales, feels otherwise, however:
“I think Just A Baby is a great idea. I believe social media has ruined dating: It’s a hook-up culture and no one gets to know each other long enough to know if they would be suitable partners beyond the romantic sense. Oftentimes I’d go on meaningless dates, get stood up, blown off, or ghosted. How will those odds ever lead to a successful marriage or kids? Likely it won’t. And it’s rather exhausting.”
Only time will tell how this plays out.