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Medical News & Perspectives
January 5, 2005

The Business of Baby Pictures

JAMA. 2005;293(1):25-27. doi:10.1001/jama.293.1.25

Fetal images created with 3-dimensional (3D) ultrasound as “keepsakes” for expectant couples have triggered a new debate about the provision of nonmedical services in physicians’ offices.

The controversy stems from the advent of commercial operations in malls and other nonmedical settings offering fetal ultrasounds for the purpose of producing mementos, not diagnoses. These procedures may be performed by noncertified personnel with little more than a weekend’s worth of training. It’s difficult to estimate how many keepsake ultrasound businesses there are in the United States, but some claim to have branches in more than 20 states and others report that they perform more than 100 scans per month.