Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Baby's First Ultra-Pix

Thursday, September 23, 2004
Having just marked a number of student papers looking at the changing defintion of "life" in the face of digital technologies, the story in the New York Times today about "baby's first picture" rapidly becoming "baby's first ultrasound" stuck a note with me. Apparently commercial operators are buying up second hand medical scanning technologies and offering fetal photographs and videos for budding parents. Some medical practitioners are concerned that non-medical ultrasounds may be harmful (but no one seems to really say how, as yet). It is of concern that some parents are using this service to get a nice image but not also seeing a doctor for a medical ultrasound (the commercial providers don't have to have any medical training, and thus are in no position to examine the ultrasounds for health issues with the foetus). Of course, you can't hold back commerce, and I'm sure these services will soon make it to Australia (if they aren't here already). Some of the providers include Peek-a-Boo Ultrasounds, FetalFotos and my favourite business name ... Womb With a View. I do wonder, though, how much more traumatic would it be to lose a baby during birth or in the last month or two if you have the "cute" baby's first ultrasound on your mantle at home? The images of the foetus-as-almost-baby also beg the difficult and always contentious question of when exactly is a foetus "alive" on its own terms, and thus a person? [Via Waxy; Image from Fetal Fotos]

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