The Sunday supplement Actualidad Económica (El Mundo) included an interview with Luis Arenaz

10-02-2021

Oficina Fenomatch

The Sunday supplement Actualidad Económica (El Mundo) recently included an interview with Luis Arenaz, CEO of Fenomatch. You can find the Spanish version here and we provided here an English translation. 

“We apply facial biometrics to find the donor with the highest degree of facial resemblance to the patient” Luis Arenaz, CEO Fenomatch

Spain is a world-leader when it comes to assisted reproduction. And alongside the growth of this sector, there have been various technological advances made in order to improve the patient experience. This is vital, especially considering the emotional struggle that many IVF patients go through. Fenomatch, a tech company based in Zaragoza, has opted for hyperspecialization in the field of fertility, and now works with clinics, donor banks, and other organisations around the world. They provide tools to help with gamete selection using Artificial Intelligence.

Question: Every year, more and more people are choosing to undergo assisted reproduction, and each year, new techniques are introduced and refined.

Answer: The progress that has been made since IVF became a common medical procedure is astounding. Just a few years ago, for example, it was fairly common to see twin births resulting from multiple implantation. Nowadays, it’s more rare.  

This has come about thanks to efforts made by the community, although there are still many areas of investigation to be explored in order to help those couples and singles who undergo treatment. At Fenomatch, patient wellbeing is our number one priority. We are experts in the field of AI applied to fertility, and improving the patient experience is our raison d’etre.  

Q: How does Fenomatch help patients?  

A: We know that assisted reproduction is not exactly a walk in the park. When patients have to accept the fact that they will need some degree of medical assistance, it’s hard. And for those who require egg or sperm donation, it can feel like it’s the end of the world. Dealing with that can be tough, and each patient does it in their own way- sometimes with the help of their partner, or a fertility counsellor, or simply through their friends and family. Fenomatch exists to help give patients the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the donor selection process has been carried out accurately, using the latest technology, and under the supervision of a medical expert.  

Q: How does the algorithm work to help find the right donor?  

A: Our platform is the first to use biometric facial-matching technology in order to find the donor with the highest degree of facial resemblance to the patient. Because we use artificial intelligence, we are able to do this using adult photographs of donors, whilst still meeting all relevant privacy and anonymity regulations related to gamete donation.  

How does it work? Your doctor will ask you for a photograph of your face, which will be analysed by the algorithm, taking over 12,000 individual measurements. These measurements are then compared to scans taken from the photographs of the potential donors. Because the comparison is done based on objective biometric data, and the analysis of facial features which are passed onto our offspring via genetics, it means that donor-assisted children are more likely to have a greater degree of resemblance to their parents. But the platform does much more than that: it helps clinics and banks meet legislation related to gamete donation, including comparison of genetic compatibility tests. We work with various  genetic laboratories in order to help medical experts pick the best match, based on genetic compatibility as well as phenotypic resemblance.  

Q: What about the legislation?

A: The Fenomatch platform was developed in Spain, a world-leader in assisted reproduction, with some of the most progressive legislation in the world. However, we are also proud to work with clinics and donor banks in Europe, Asia and America, meeting all relevant legislation related to donor privacy and data protection. That means we are ISO27001 certified, we meet all the relevant European and American legislation, and the medical data of both patients and donors is encrypted. It’s something we take very seriously.  

Q: It’s curious that technology, which can seem so cold, is helping us in something as human and intimate as reproduction. What changes can we expect over the next few years?

A: Technology is here to help humanise these processes. When a company makes the decision to use our Fenomatch, it means they want to provide the highest possible level of care for their patients, and do everything they can to make sure the donor selection is done in the best possible way.

And that’s something patients value: we get messages every day, from all around the world. In fact, Egg Donation Friends, one of the biggest clinic portals in the sector, allows patients to choose a clinic based on whether or not Fenomatch is available.  

We’re always thinking about what’s coming next. We’re focused on the improvement of our platform, and on other technological advances for companies working in fertility. At the moment, we’re working towards an app designed to improve the patient experience, support for medical investigations, AI for embryo selection, and advanced matching for genetic tests. We’re becoming a big name in the fertility sector. Did you know that a company in Japan called us up, because they’d heard of us, and they liked our work? Well, now they’re our client.  

 

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