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‘Touch’ your unborn child’s face as Hong Kong hospital offers service printing 3D models of foetuses for parents

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A new service has allowed Hong Kong parents who are expecting a child to touch their baby’s face – even before he or she is born.

 

They can now order 3D models of their foetus at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital in Tsuen Wan, the city’s first private hospital to offer such a service.

But it does not come cheap – they would have to fork out up to HK$6,000 in total to take the model back home. This price includes a scan in which the hospital uses its latest 4D ultrasound device to capture the image of the foetus – a HK$3,000 procedure – and printing the model itself, which can come up to another HK$3,000.

This service would also benefit visually impaired parents who are unable to see ultrasound images.

“We haven’t handled lots of visually impaired parents, but we hope to take care of the needs of everyone,” said Doretta Lo Hoi-yee, a senior nursing officer at the hospital’s outpatient department.

Parents can choose between a plain or coloured 3D model of their unborn child’s face, and they can even opt to encase the model in a crystal-like material.

The 3D printing service was made available after Adventist Hospital in Tsuen Wan purchased the latest model of a 4D ultrasound device. The hospital claimed to be the first among the city’s private hospitals to buy it.


Parents can choose between plain and coloured 3D models of their unborn child. Photo: Elizabeth Cheung

The device, which can scan foetuses starting from six weeks into the mother’s pregnancy to check on their development, also offers results in real time. The process in older machines has a time lag of one to two seconds.

It is understood that publicly funded Queen Elizabeth Hospital has also purchased the same device, but it is not known whether it also prints out 3D models of foetuses.

But Tang Miu-chi, a mother of two, was not impressed by the concept of the 3D models.

“All foetuses look similar when they are developing,” Tang said. “The model doesn’t look pretty to me and looks a bit like a medical specimen.”

Instead, she said, she would prefer creating miniature figures of her children – after they are born – using scanned images.

 

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as:
‘Touch’ your baby’s face – even before he or she is born

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