Are you finding out? That is one of the most popular questions parents-to-be face.
If you are pregnant it is common knowledge that the 18-20 week ultrasound is your big chance to find out the sex of your baby. But sometimes when the baby doesn’t co-operate couples head to a private clinic to get a second look. For a fee these businesses offer parents(and their family) the chance to see the baby in 3d and also provide them with a video of the session.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada(SOGC) and the Canadian Association of Radiologists(CAR) are, however, looking to change this, and it’s not because they want to wreck your nursery plans, but they want to save lives.
In a new joint policy statement, the associations say it could be considered unethical for private, commercial clinics to offer “entertainment” ultrasounds purely for the purpose of creating “keepsake” videos for expectant parents.
Non-medical clinics performing gender determination in the first trimester, they say, are the cause of some couples aborting the fetus if it is the wrong sex.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal, in an editorial published in 2012, said research in Canada has found the strongest evidence of sex selection among people from India, China, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines.
“What this means is that many couples who have two daughters and no son selectively get rid of female fetuses until they can ensure that their third-born child is a boy.”
Other potential harms include false-positive diagnoses leading to unnecessary investigations and anxiety; false reassurance to the patient that everything is “normal”; and physical harm if unsafe levels of abdominal pressure and fetal maneuvering are used to obtain a suitable commercial product, the statement also notes.
Additionally there is a concern that the fetus may be exposed to unnecessarily high energy levels for as long as an hour to get a video and those operating the machines may be poorly trained to recognize abnormalities.