America is buzzing with the news of Sonogram parties now being provided by independent businesses.
Posting a 3D photograph or a sonogram picture to your Facebook page will soon become a thing of the past. Women in America are now able to gather all their friends and family in their living room, and have a 3D or 4D scan done, right in the comfort of their home.
These are called 'viewing parties' and are the modern day baby shower. Games are played, sandwiches and nibbles are handed out, and then mum lies back on the sofa in front of an ultrasound screen.
The partner and guests will then gather around to see the first movements of the baby, and for some, this is the moment when the child's gender can also be revealed.
Companies such as BabyFace and More and Miracle Imaging, even have the ability to loop in any distant friends or relatives via Skpe.
Co-owner of Miracle Imaging, Chad Berry, works alongside his wife, Camie, who is a certified sonographer. "We'll get a call that someone is having a baby shower and ask if we can come. In two weeks, Alex and Kara are having a package with us. They are renting a real nice room at a country club. We set up and bring the massage table and the screen set up for them so everyone at the baby shower can see" Chad told ABC News.
Camie and Chad were inspired to set up their sonogram services after they finally became pregnant following five miscarriages.
Their packages offered, range from $179, to $249. These prices are 70% less than the average cost of the traditional lab sonograms, and when insurance companies will not pay for sonogram imaging, many couples are keen to use companies such as Miracle Imaging.
However, many experts are trying to dissuade people from having an ultrasound away from a doctor. In 2008, the FDA warned against keepsake images, as the effects of the heat and radiation from the ultrasound were unknown
Dr Ari Brown, a paediatrician, said "we discourage couples from going to the mall and getting glamour shot style ultrasounds. There is no certainty of the technicians training or if the machine is properly maintained".
Dr amber Sills, an obstetrics and gynaecology surgeon, spoke of her concerns for if the scan revealed a problem. "What if the person giving the ultrasound started the scan and could not find a heartbeat?" she said. "Or what if the foetus had not developed a skull, head or brain? This happens more than most people realize. What would you do then?".
There are currently no companies in the UK offering such services, but people believe it is only a matter of time before the craze joins us here.
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