September 23, 2004


The Womb as Photo Studio (SAM LUBELL, 9/23/04, NY Times)

IT'S a rite of passage for many expectant parents: baby's first ultrasound. The fuzzy images of the fetus, produced during an examination in an obstetrician's office, are prized by couples, passed around proudly among friends and relatives.

Now, trying to capitalize on this phenomenon, a number of companies are selling elective ultrasounds that have little to do with neonatal health. The services, often in small offices or shopping malls, amount to fetal photo studios and use newer 3-D ultrasound technology to produce more realistic images than conventional machines.

Parents-to-be typically pay from about $80 for a short ultrasound session primarily to determine the fetus's sex to $300 for a half-hour session that is recorded on a videocassette or DVD and includes color photos.

While medical professionals warn of potential health risks from unnecessary ultrasounds, those who offer the elective examinations say they are safe and fulfill a need.

"Women love it," said Matt Evans, a lawyer, who started his company, Baby Insight (baby, about a year and a half ago. "They get to see their baby and have an emotional experience with their baby." [...]

Some doctors do not object to elective ultrasounds. Dr. Haig Yeni-Komshian, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Chevy Chase, Md., recently accompanied a patient to Baby Insight and found the practice safe, likening it to portrait work. "There's no radiation involved with ultrasounds, just high-frequency waves," Dr. Yeni-Komshian said. "As long as women are still seeing their doctors, if they want to have this done, that's fine."

Hard to believe opposition isn't mostly driven by fear that these pictures make it difficult to claim that they aren't human:

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 23, 2004 10:06 AM

Is that picture of one of your own? The kid looks surly and obstinate.

Posted by: Governor Breck at September 23, 2004 10:39 AM

The bottom picture looks almost like a Rodin.

Probably not a NH baby.

In five years (or less), these will be evidence when Roe v. Wade is overturned. Just like all the statistical evidence that was introduced in Brown.

Posted by: ratbert at September 23, 2004 11:25 AM

The abrupt cutoff (with artifacts) on the top left corner of the upper pic gives it a surrealistic look -- like we're looking at an abruptly-cut-off wax shell or something. Very surreal.

As for "to claim that they are not human", in a lot of tribal societies (veh-ry tren-dy among Our Multi-culti Betters), not being of Our Tribe automatically means you are not really human. Remember the Tutsi & Hutu and all the blood on all those pangas?

Posted by: Ken at September 23, 2004 4:04 PM