A womb with a view

A bonus for Hamilton’s moms-to-be: See your baby in 3-D

By Joanna Frketich
The Hamilton Spectator
See your baby in 3-D

John Rennison, the Hamilton Spectator
Gary Janes, left, and John Rasmussen will open Fetal Expressions at Ancaster Meadowlands on March 1 to give moms and families a close-up look at unborn babies.

Pregnant women can soon add 3-D ultrasound pictures of their unborn babies to their shopping lists at Ancaster Meadowlands.

Hamilton’s first entertainment ultrasound clinic opens March 1 to give families a live show of their fetuses complete with photo packages and a keepsake DVD. The controversial private clinic called Fetal Expressions is opposed by doctors, medical associations and even Health Canada.

But the two ultrasound sonographers running it say families want access to the latest technology to have a look and a chance to bond with their babies before they’re born. “The whole family gets together to see the baby for the first time,” said owner Gary Janes. “This is what we think has been excluded from medical ultrasounds. It basically came down to the number of patients asking us for this.”

Moms will lounge on leather recliners and families can relax on a comfortable couch while the ultrasound is played live on a large LCD monitor on the wall.

If families buy the deluxe $189 package, siblings will be able to make their own memento of the event, picking their favourite pictures to go on a CD. A no-frills $99 package will also be available. The clinic is in stark contrast to the city’s only other 3-D ultrasound at McMaster University Medical Centre. It is used mostly to diagnose birth defects. Women can’t request or pay to use it. As a result, private clinics such as Fetal Expressions are opening across the country. Until now, the closest were in Oakville, Cambridge and Mississauga.

“It has proliferated greatly in the last year,” said Dr. Shia Salem, vice-president of the Ontario Association of Radiologists. “Every month, there’s another one.”