No, this isn't a new competitor to Tinder — unless you want it to be. It's an application now available on Apple devices that can connect women and gay couples with sperm donors remotely.
But it isn't just sperm donors. Egg donors, surrogate mothers, and even co-parents can all be found with the app.
The app is called "Just A Baby," and the product description in the Apple App Store is that it is "a mobile app that connects you with people who just want a baby." According to the official website, it "puts power in your hands to meet biological conception partners. And, once you've found your ideal conception partner, we can help you connect with legal, family counseling and fertility services, so you can begin your journey with confidence. Just download the Just a Baby app, start swiping and start a family — your way. Be part of the change."
The app was developed by a pair of Australian software Gerard Edwards and Paul Ryan (probably no relation to that other Paul Ryan.)
They told the Australian Daily Telegraph that they designed the app because "it was just evident that there were increasing pressures against the traditional models of raising a child and on traditional families."
"I was in my 30s and was looking at my situation and at those around me, it was just evident that there were increasing pressures against the traditional models of raising a child and on traditional families," Ryan told the Telegraph.
"There's a lot more acceptance now around same-sex relationships, empowerment of women, people putting off having kids until later."
"But it's not widely spoken about and there still is this incredible amount of pressure and lack of options for people in their 30s to 40s to start families. You have gay and lesbian people going to sperm banks … people having babies with their friends [as well as] a lot of people going overseas trying different options."
Ryan says that he wants to reverse the trend of women having babies with their friends or inseminating themselves with turkey basters or needleless syringes (both of which are allegedly popular with women who cannot conceive in a more traditional fashion, although little data exists on the subject.) He also says that the app has already gained popularity in the United States, South America, and Europe.
There's nothing illegal about the app itself, but fertility laws to regulate sperm and egg donation as well as surrogate motherhood vary greatly between states and nations. Australian family law specialist Jennifer Hetherington told the Telegraph that users should consult with a lawyer before entering any legally-binding agreements.
"If people are using someone else's genetic material to have a child, when it's anonymous, that issue doesn't arise but if someone is using a known party, particularly someone they've met on the app, they should definitely be seeking legal advice, specifically on who goes on the birth certificate," she said.
"The co-parenting option also raises a red flag. That implies you're raising the child together. If you're meeting via an app with the express interests of having a child together without knowing the person's background, all sorts of things can go wrong."
Numerous success stories have surfaced since the app went live in 2016. From lesbian couples seeking a sperm donor to heterosexual couples that can't conceive due to health problems looking for a surrogate, several users have reported success with Just a Baby.