Seeing the first grainy, white on black silhouette of my baby’s face was a defining moment in my life. It helped my mind’s eye paint a picture of my little boy’s face and my future as a mom. But old school ultrasound photos like mine are nothing compared to new technologies helping parents envision their babies months before they’ll actually meet them.
A new DNA-driven app called BABYGlimpse lets parents use at-home saliva collection kits to explore their child’s possible genetic characteristics.
When the results come back, parents can ‘see’ their baby through DNA and data, rather than through an ultrasound machine. My ultrasound photos couldn’t tell me that my son has brown hair, but BABYGlimpse could have told me it was a possibility.
Along with telling parents about probable hair and eye colors, the app provides an ancestry report as well as a report on wellness-related conditions.
There’s also a bunch of interesting fun predictions to be found within parental DNA, like your baby’s probable grip strength, sleep behaviors (it would have been nice to have a heads up on that!) as well as sunlight sensitivity and whether or not they’ll like the flavor of cilantro (seriously).
It’s important to note that this is not a medical test— just something fun for expecting parents to do, and can give parents a peek into what their future son or daughter might look or be like.
“We built BABYGlimpse as an inspiring and optimistic way for two people to understand their own genetics, and what they might pass on to their offspring,” says Chris Glode, CEO of HumanCode. "Our vision is that you and your partner could have a very fun conversation, saying, 'Oh, they’re going to be great athletes,' for example," Glode explains. "It's mostly for fun and entertainment purposes. We have tried very hard to make sure that you won’t get results that will cause you to make family and parenting decisions."
Of course pulling back the curtain on our DNA secrets comes at a price. The kit sells for about $199 USD.
For couples who want to know everything possible about their future baby, a saliva sample may be a little less invasive (and give you a more colorful “picture”) than the old school methods. And while it won’t give expecting parents an exact idea of who their baby will be, it may be fun to explore the possibilities.