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April 28, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Probe of ultrasound companies is launched

LOCAL health authorities said yesterday they are investigating companies that offer fetal ultrasound photography and video services.

Officials said the practice may constitute an illegal check of the fetus' gender, and they warned pregnant women about potential health hazards.

While Chinese health authorities don't have clear regulation on fetal photography, "we are investigating with the cooperation of relevant government departments," said Hu Xuewei, an official from the Shanghai Health Supervision Agency.

Officials from the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said ultrasound machines are medical appliances and that only licensed medical facilities and research institutes are allowed to use them. Those using the machines must be registered radiological technicians with professional training.

Some firms are offering fetal photography, which includes a package of printed three-dimensional photos and a live-action video, at prices ranging from 1,000 (US$159) to 2,000 yuan.

Such services are flourishing in Shanghai and other cities, as expectant mothers are eager to see their baby earlier, keep the image of their child and find the fetus' gender earlier since doctors are not allowed to release the gender without a medical purpose.

Ultrasound imaging is a prenatal test used during pregnancy to check the development of the fetus and detect problems.


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