If you're ready to have a baby, but aren't necessarily able to do so through the traditional means (i.e., being in a heterosexual relationship in which you can readily conceive a child), there's an app for that. A new app called Just A Baby purports to be just like Tinder, but for, well, baby-making. Instead of matching you up with a potential hookup or a significant other, the app will match you to a sperm donor, surrogate, or even just a co-parent or partner.
The app, developed by Australians Paul Ryan (definitely not that Paul Ryan) and Gerard Edwards, launched in the U.S. and UK on Monday after a soft launch in Sydney, according to NBC. With it, users are able to fill out a "biological profile" that indicates what they need or can provide, whether it be sperm or egg donations, co-parenting, surrogacy, or partnership. Just like Tinder, the app is GPS-enabled, so you can find other users locally. However, you can also zoom out and take in a more global view.
Unlike Tinder and other dating apps, however, the app doesn't ask users to plug in details about their race or body type, Ryan told NBC, in an attempt to keep the app "agnostic."
"Some people request that information, which is fine, but we want to get away from that catalog feeling you get at a sperm bank," he told NBC. "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 told NBC that the app has already acquired about 3,000 to 4,000 users over the past few months of the soft launch.
"They're matching up and sharing great stories about starting families," he told NBC.
He also said that the app was catered towards millennials who may want to become parents even if they aren't necessarily ready to settle down with a long-term partner.
"Millennials are often in this space where they're transient, their relationships don't last as long, and they're putting off having kids," he told NBC. "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, committing to having a baby with someone you meet over the internet can be a risky venture. Ryan insisted to NBC that users should of course meet each other and go through all the legal and medical channels necessary. The app, however, doesn't provide these services, so users will be left to figure it out on their own.
Given that it's really never "just a baby," the app may well be much more complicated than the name suggests. Still, for LGBTQ couples seeking a surrogate or a sperm donor, Just A Baby could facilitate the process in a much more seamless way than it otherwise would have been. Since it's still early days, there's no telling yet if Just A Baby will become just as ubiquitous as online dating has.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
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