August 20, 2017: Hong Kong’s Tsuen Wan-based Adventist Hospital has become one of the first hospitals in Asia to offer 3D printed replica foetuses.
For about USD 770, expectant parents can order a 3D printed model of their unborn baby.
The technology uses ultrasound scanning and 3D printing to create the models. It is available for parents from the sixth week of pregnancy onward. The turnaround time for a model is 3-5 days.
There is some concern that the extensive ultrasound scanning activity needed to produce a 3D replica will be harmful to the unborn baby.
Despite these concerns, 3D printing news source 3ders.org reported that the 3D foetus models can be of special interest to parents with impaired vision.
“We haven’t handled lots of visually impaired parents, but we hope to take care of the needs of everyone,” said a senior nursing officer at the hospital, Doretta Lo Hoi-yee.
The technology available can print full-body replicas of foetuses as well as more detailed versions of the foetal face.
The 3ders article reported that to blind or otherwise visually impaired parents a printed model could be “an emotionally charged object… one that gives them the chance to pre-natally bond with their son or daughter and better relate to what is going on inside the maternal body.”