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There's a New Way to 'See' What Your Unborn Baby Might Look Like

Photograph by Twenty20

Awaiting the arrival of a newborn is an exciting and curious time for couples. They want to know everything, from the baby's eye color to whether their hair will be straight or curly, brown or blond. Most important, they'll want to know who their child will look like: Mom or Dad.

Up until now, getting your hands on a crystal-clear 4-D ultrasound photo, with or without video imagery, was the only way to get a glimpse of your child's genetic outcome. Unfortunately, obtaining a good photo of a baby that's still in the womb is not that simple. It takes time for Baby to develop into a photogenic state, typically between 26 and 32 weeks, and photos taken beforehand usually turn out blurry and unclear. (And let's not forget about those awkward 2-D ultrasound photos.)

But even the best photographs in the world won't satisfy an expectant mother's curiosity, which is why DNA technology continues to evolve. What if we told you it just got better?

BABYGlimpse is a brand-new, first-of-its-kind, DNA-powered app that allows couples to dig deep and explore genetic characteristics that their children might inherit (keyword being "might" because technology isn't perfect).

So, how does the app work (and does it work)? Using at-home collection kits powered by Helix, both parents provide a saliva sample, which is processed in Helix’s CLIA- and CAP-accredited next-generation sequencing lab.

Within a few weeks of registering your kit and mailing in your samples, Helix will assemble, store and protect your genetic data. You will be notified once your DNA sequence is complete, and that's when the fun begins.

One of the unique features of BABYGlimpse is the unexpected insights you will receive once your data has been captured, such as grip strength, sleep behaviors, sunlight sensitivity and cilantro flavor perception (seriously). On top of all that, the app can project estimated ancestral roots of your offspring by simulating the combination of your DNA with your partner’s.

The company refers to the app as “sunshine science,” describing it as "a journey into the unique characteristics and quirks that couples can compare and share, and see what they might pass along to the next generation."

Though engaging and fun to play with, the BABYGlimpse app is not a medical test and should not be used to make reproductive decisions.

Other things the app won't do: It will not provide medical information for you, your partner or any existing and future children, or predict your baby’s exact appearance or traits.

Still, talk about a kickass baby shower gift!

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