Keepsake ultrasound videos make the rounds on YouTube

May 30, 2007

Expectant parents no longer seem satisfied with keeping 3D fetal videos in their DVD collection armoire. Now they are posting them on the web. This practice could undermine organized radiology efforts to rein in unwarranted fetal sonography scans.

Expectant parents no longer seem satisfied with keeping 3D fetal videos in their DVD collection armoire. Now they are posting them on the web. This practice could undermine organized radiology efforts to rein in unwarranted fetal sonography scans.

Countless 3D fetal videos are filling pages in YouTube or MySpace, and Diagnostic Imaging asked the American College of Radiology and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine for comments on the latest trend.

The AIUM has had a long history of advocating the responsible use of diagnostic sonography and discouraging the non-medical use of ultrasound for entertainment purposes. Its stance remains the same, said AIUM President Dr. Joshua Copel.

Speaking on behalf of the ACR, Public Relations Manager Shawn Farley said his organization's policy against clinically unwarranted fetal sonography scans remains unchanged also.

A number of the fetal videos that cybernauts all over the world can now download may in fact come from medically indicated exams. There are clues indicating, however, that efforts to stop keepsake ultrasound entrepreneurs may be falling short. The keepsake video industry seems to be taking advantage of online communities to expand. So-called 3D ultrasound centers advertised on MySpace, for instance, offer services ranging from gender verification to Doppler fetoscopes and even fetal sonography franchises.

These videos also reflect several parental concerns that entrepreneurs can exploit. Parents seek for ways to bond with their fetuses, spread the news about the pregnancy, and even prepare to cultivate gender roles. One mother posting 3D videos on YouTube under the nickname Eidel Odette says she wanted to read in advance books on how to raise boys or girls and also to tell people planning the baby shower what colors to buy.

Be it a strong desire to know the sex in advance or curiosity to see the fetus in the womb, parents admit they would get fetal ultrasound videos with or without a physician's indication.

"We agreed (to having a 3D ultrasound) because we knew the definition would be much better and had already thought about paying privately for one. I recall asking whether there were any known side effects or potential risk to our baby and being reassured there were not," said Allan Munro, a registered nurse who also posted fetal videos on YouTube.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

FDA tightens grip on handheld ultrasound

Study rings alarm bell on ultrasound exposure risks

California ultrasound legislation implements Cruise controly

Indian radiologist gets jail sentence for using ultrasound